(Host) Rutland Mayor John Cassarino has announced he will not run for a fifth term. VPR’s Nina Keck spoke with the mayor today to find out why.
(Keck) John Cassarino first took office in 1999. Prior to that, he’d served 16 years on the city’s board of aldermen – four of those as president. The 63-year-old says his age is the main reason he won’t run again.
(Cassarino) “I think I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my family. Both my wife and I have spent a lot of time dedicating our lives to the City of Rutland and our family has not gotten full attention. And we would like to do that – we’ve got grandchildren, we want to travel – as I said last night – I was talking to someone and I said we’re here for a good time, not necessarily a long time.”
(Keck) This past year has been difficult for Cassarino. Problems in the city treasurers’ office, budget battles with the board of Aldermen and fallout from a citywide reappraisal were widely reported. While Cassarino faced harsh criticism from some for the way he handled those issues, he says it didn’t affect his decision to step down.
(Cassarino) “It had nothing to do with it. I’m not a quitter. I’ve been through tougher things than that in my life. I’m not glad that this happened, but I’m sort of glad that it happened during my tenure so we could get it taken care of.”
(Keck) Cassarino has faced other challenges as mayor such as a surge in drug related crime which included a triple murder that shocked the city. Cassarino says he’s pleased with the local police and other city officials have handled the situation. He says he’s also proud of his efforts to help local neighborhoods come together to help fight crime.
(Cassarino) “There’s a lot of things I’m proud of. I’m proud of the way downtown looks and I think I’ve been a big part of that. And I think eye appeal is so important, especially when you’re trying to sell something whether it be a piece of pie or the city.”
(Keck) No one has formally announced plans to run for mayor, but there will likely be a number of candidates including, political observers say, several members of the board of aldermen.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.