Dr. Louis Meyers, a physician and 2022 candidate for Congress, recently conducted the first in a series of interviews entitled “Vermonters Making A Difference.” His interview subject is David Allaire, mayor of Rutland and a former legislator.
Louis Meyers: Mayor Allaire, you have had some very serious health problems over the past two years and have been to hell and back. How are you feeling now?
David Allaire: I am now cured and am feeling great, really rejuvenated! Having this job to do certainly has helped my recovery.
(The mayor had been at his desk since 6:30 AM).
LM: You served as a Rutland alderman for 19 years, including several as chairman. When you took office as mayor in 2016, it was a troubled time for Rutland. What were your goals then, and what has happened since?
DA: My first goal was to bring the city together. I have tried to increase openness and communication. We had to build back the fire department. We opened City Center in downtown Rutland. We were finally able to find funding to build a community swimming pool, which has been much enjoyed by people in Rutland. We instituted Project Vision, and we have been working on redevelopment of the northwest section of the city. When the College of Saint Joseph closed, we were able to transform its athletic facility into one which will be available to all Rutlanders.
LM: What are the biggest challenges right now?
DA: Affordable housing remains a critical need, and we are working on that. Rutland is a great place to raise a family and it offers a wonderful quality of life, but we need to increase the available housing. And homelessness and drug use are ongoing problems which were exacerbated by the Covid epidemic and remain huge problems nationwide. Public safety is also critical – like many cities, we are struggling to recruit and retain police officers.
LM: When you first took office, there was much division in the community over the plan to welcome 100 Syrian refugees to Rutland, and ultimately they did not come here. If that situation were to arise today, how would the community respond?
DA: The problem then was not that people in Rutland were against refugees. The difficulty arose because of lack of transparency by the previous administration over the decision-making. This community has a big heart and would welcome new arrivals, as long as it is an open process.
LM: You have announced that you are running for reelection.
DA: Yes, I love Rutland and there is more work to be done and more progress ahead!
Categories: Vermonters Making A Difference
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