John Cassarino thinks it might be time to return to city politics.
“One day I think I will, the next day, maybe not,” said the former mayor, who is circulating a petition to get his name on the ballot as a candidate for the Board of Aldermen. “I’m leaning towards it, but I’m leaving the option open. ... I don’t have any axes to grind, I have a lot of experience. You hear a lot of people complain. Rather than complain, you ought to step up and do something.”
Two members of the board of Aldermen have said they will not run for re-election and a third has described himself as unsure. A dearth of candidates prompted Alderman William Notte to send out a call for people to step up and run. Cassarino said the apparent lack of interest in the race pushed him toward entering.
“If qualified people don’t get involved, it leaves the door open for some people that you probably don’t want in there,” he said. “I think I have something to offer. ... I think it’s good there are young people involved. I think there’s still room for an old-timer.”
Cassarino, 69, served 16 years on the board, including a stint as president, before serving as mayor from 1999 to 2007. He chose not to seek re-election at the end of his fourth term.
“I was tired,” he said. “My wife had retired.”
Cassarino said he had a number of health issues after he stepped aside, including an infection from a spider bite, knee and back surgeries and a struggle with cancer.
“I’m three and a half years clear now, thank God,” he said. “I was falling apart. Now, I’m feeling pretty good. ... I don’t think you could say I was missing it. I think I have something to offer.”
Until recently, Cassarino was cooking at the Open Door Mission three nights a week, and he said he continues to serve on the board of that organization as well as the Vermont State Liquor Board. He also said he has continued to watch the goings-on at City Hall.
A number of people have encouraged him to run, but Cassarino said he has not quite decided whether to commit. He is, however, gathering signatures.
“I figure that way if I really want to do it, I can,” he said. “If I wait until the last minute, I’d have to scramble.”
Petitions to run for local office are due by 5 p.m. Monday.
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