By Lani Duke
The four candidates for Rutland City’s mayor outlined their qualifications for the job on PEGTV Feb. 9. Mayor Christopher Louras touted his record, while Alderman David Allaire opposed that record and Rutland Downtown Partnership Executive Director Michael Coppinger presented himself as the candidate most likely to make change; the final contestent Kam Johnston said he is the sole candidate intending to cut the budget. Candidates answered questions about infrastructure developments and attracting young people.
Louras views the 10 years he has led the city as that of “unrivaled and ongoing positive transformation” for the city, including combating the city’s drug problem. Allaire targeted what he called a “lack of leadership,” rife with controversies about refugee resettlement and fire department restructuring, plus an “unsustainable” budget. Allaire has served the city as alderman for 19 years, six of those as board chairman. Coppinger praised the work done by both Louras and Allaire but said it is time for a change from the mistrust and poor communication between the public and city government. Johnston said he represents the average citizen, saying, “I’m you, John Q. Public.”