BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Bernie Sanders' stepdaughter is considering a run for mayor of Burlington, Vermont, the same office that was the starting point for the independent U.S. senator's political career.
Carina Driscoll, a former city council member and progressive state legislator, said Monday that she would make a decision by the end of the month. She would not say which political party she would run under or if she would run as an independent.
Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger is expected to seek re-election in March 2018.
"In my mind it's time to consider a new direction for Burlington and a new vision and I am exploring whether it's the right time for that, if there are others who feel the same way and also if it's the right time for me," Driscoll said.
Her stepfather was elected Burlington's mayor in 1981, upsetting the status quo of city politics and launching his political career.
Driscoll volunteered for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. She also founded the Vermont Woodworking School in Fairfax and is a mother of two, both factors she is considering as she weighs a run.
Her mother, Jane Sanders, was president of Burlington College when the school purchased property and buildings from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington in 2010. Last year, the school closed after struggling under the weight of the $10 million deal. Federal investigators are looking into the finances behind the deal. The Sanderses' spokesman, Jeff Weaver, has said the allegations that prompted the investigation were politically motivated attacks.
Driscoll said her stepfather has not attempted to influence her decision.
"He is respectful of my own personal goals and ambitions, and he is leaving me to determine what is the right move for me at this time," she said. "I think whatever I do he'll support me as a family member."
Growing up in a home with both the senator and Jane Sanders certainly had an impact, she said.
"Mostly in that I am deeply committed to issues of social and economic and racial justice, and that for me, sitting on the sidelines when it feels there's work to be done, is very challenging," she said. "And that's my primary motivation. ... I really very much want to jump back into local politics."
A Sanders' spokesman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment after hours.