Updated at 6:10 p.m.
Ali House, a Progressive representing Ward 8 on the Burlington City Council, announced her resignation Wednesday in a press release.
House said she had informed the Burlington city attorney of her resignation, which was effective Wednesday.
“Over the last few months, several serious situations have made it difficult for me to carry out my council duties and my mental health has been impacted in many ways,” House said in the release. “I would appreciate space from the public as I heal from these experiences.”
House was elected to the council seat in March when she was a senior at the University of Vermont.
Mayor Miro Weinberger’s office said that the Ward 8 seat will remain vacant until Town Meeting Day next year because it was vacated after Oct. 1.
“I’m sorry to hear of Councilor House’s resignation after such a short time working with her on the Council, and wish her the best in her future endeavors and in addressing the situations that caused her to take this action,” Weinberger said in a statement.
Seven Days reported Wednesday that House’s resignation came a day after the paper had asked the councilor if she still lived in the city. House, who did not respond to VTDigger’s interview requests, told Seven Days on Wednesday that she was a “current legal resident of Ward 8.”
Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, told VTDigger that she had not been informed of the resignation before House issued the press release but said that “we've been hearing for a while that she's not living in the district.”
House’s resignation creates a second vacancy on the 12-member council. Another Progressive, Jack Hanson, stepped down from the East District seat last month to pursue a job with the city. Weinberger has announced that a special election for that seat will take place on Dec. 6.
Adam Roof, chair of the Burlington Democrats and a former Ward 8 councilor, said he was concerned about the two vacancies. “Ward 8 is not represented. I think that that is a big problem,” Roof said. “And I think that we need to do better.”
In his statement, Weinberger also noted that the residents of the East District and Ward 8 would be without councilors until future elections. “My office is open and available to anyone who needs assistance or who wants to share their thoughts or concerns,” he said.
In her statement, House also pointed to the difficulties of being a young person in political office.
“There are considerable barriers that exist for young people serving in office, and that has been no different in my case,” she said.
Shannon said she agreed about the obstacles facing young people in politics but also expressed concerns about their level of commitment.
“When you're in college and you graduate from college, you're transient,” Shannon said. “And I hope that we will be able to elect councilors that are rooted in our community, plan on continuing to stay in our community and, hopefully, have been here for a little while. To have a better understanding of our challenges.”
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