Ward 3’s Republican candidate prioritizes infrastructure and police spending


Christopher-Aaron Felker, Ward 3 Republican candidate for Burlington City Council, launches his campaign on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Photo by Glenn Russell / VTDigger

Christopher-Aaron Felker launched his campaign for Burlington City Council Ward 3 Tuesday night in Battery Park, saying he wanted to unite the district as a rare Republican candidate in a city largely dominated by progressives and Democrats.

In his speech, Felker acknowledged that Ward 3 has been ruled by progressive councilors since 1981.

“The Progressive Party has been in control of this community for 40 years,” said Felker. “And despite their good intentions, they have failed to provide real solutions to home security and public safety issues, and they have neglected to responsibly maintain critical infrastructure.”

In his speech, which drew around 50 people, he said he wanted to put more energy into rebuilding the city’s sidewalks to make them more accessible and to restore resources and staff to the Burlington Police Department. City councils voted last summer to cut the department’s staff by 30% to use funds for racial justice initiatives.

In the weeks before the kick-off event on Tuesday, Felker deleted his Twitter account under the user name @Urorwellianlife. A Google cache of the account verified by VTDigger showed that Felker retweeted a handful of tweets that are generally considered to be transphobic, including a tweet linking transgender people with sex offenders.

He also retweeted a message from an anti-transgender attorney pointing out that affirmation of transgender children equated to “conversion therapy,” and another from a conservative writer who supported the Arkansas decision to end gender-based health care for trans- To ban adolescents as a ban on “experimental electoral intervention in minors with healthy bodies that can leave scars and render them inoperable.”

Felker told VTDigger in an interview after the campaign launched on Tuesday that his “political views on the matter are that transgender people have every right to engage and interact and have equal access in society,” said VTDigger Felker.

“It’s not exactly what the transgender community wants to hear,” he added. “They labeled me transphobic for saying that. That is their opinion. I am not afraid of transgender people. I support their right to do whatever they want, to live and find their happiness. But I will defend women’s rights, women’s sport. “

Felker, who is gay, said his beliefs were shaped by his Christian religion and concluded that “we were created in the image of God and that none of us were born in the wrong bodies”.

Felker said he also “proudly” defends women-only spaces and women-only sports leagues – a concept that has been criticized as being transphobic or a form of Trans-exclusive radical feminism.

He said he deleted his Twitter weeks before the start of his campaign because he didn’t have time for social media, not to hide tweets.

When asked by VTDigger whether Felker considered himself a Republican more in line with Governor Phil Scott or former President Donald Trump, he declined to respond, saying he did not join any political figure. He described himself as a “compassionate conservative” who bases his political views on constitutional principles and his Christian faith.

If elected, he said he wanted to have “positive police policies” that would add funding, officers and social workers to the BPD. He declined to say whether he would support restoring last summer’s cuts or funding BPD beyond previous levels. He said more research needs to be done to determine an exact number.

He said he also wants to encourage the development of more affordable housing in the city by relaxing zoning laws to encourage more building. He referred to the long stalled CityPlace development project, which promised 400 new luxury apartments and around 80 affordable apartments, but was embroiled in litigation and funding problems.

“We can joke about the pit all day,” said Felker. “But that’s 400 houses that could come on the market this year.”

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