A New Political Tide in Burlington Gives Tenant Efforts a Boost

February, 1981

1981 brought a new infusion of energy at Northgate: Bernie Sanders was elected Mayor of Burlington and the tenants formed the Northgate-Greenfield Tenants Association (NGTA), building on prior tenants’ groups.  The two events were not coincidental. The socialist candidate’s campaign for mayor drew Burlington’s low-income residents and community groups into a political process that had historically excluded them. Sanders’ upset victory for mayor–by just 10 votes–showed that grassroots organizing paid off, propelling these previously disenfranchised groups to political action. The seeds for the NGTA were planted with the series of Vermont Legal Aid and tenant led lawsuits in the late 70s.  By 1981, residents were bringing their concerns to City Council and City Hall with their new mayor’s support. As well as educating and organizing residents, the NGTA deepened their community spirit with social activities at Northgate.

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