“We defeated this, and it should be used as a template for the rest of country.” The people of Rutland, Vermont, have gained a measure of revenge against former President Obama’s forced influx of Syrian refugees, voting out the five-term mayor, Christopher Louras (above), who helped negotiate the controversial resettlements with a federal contractor.
WND (h/t Rob E) Rutland is Vermont’s third-largest city but still very small, with a population of 16,500. The candidacy of Mayor Christopher Louras went down in flames in Tuesday’s election as he was defeated by the refugee program’s most ardent opponent on the board of aldermen. David Allaire won with 52 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Louras.
“That’s not just a win, that’s a drubbing,” said Don Chioffi, an activist who supported the upstart candidate Allaire. Louras came out last April and “announced,” much to the surprise of his residents, that the city would be taking in up to 100 Syrian refugees in fiscal 2017 along with others from Iraq.
The announcement divided the city among those who wanted to welcome the refugees – no questions asked – and those who thought the refugee program was being dictated without any local input and with very little information. Protests and counter-protests were organized, attracting national media attention.
Unfazed by the division it caused in Rutland, a State Department contractor opened an office and started placing Syrians into the community.
More than 98 percent of Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslim while about 75 percent of Iraqi refugees are either Sunni or Shiite, and they’re just now starting to show up in a small town that doesn’t have a single mosque.
On Tuesday, Louras paid a price for his role in inviting the refugees to Rutland. City Councilor David Allaire won a four-way race for mayor, stopping Louras from gaining a sixth term.
Mayor Louras had negotiated an unpopular refugee deal behind closed doors with the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. USCRI is one of nine exclusive contractors that get paid by the U.S. State Department for every refugee they place into U.S. cities and towns.
Ann Corcoran, who writes the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch, said Louras’ defeat should be a “wake-up call to mayors around the country that pushing the refugee program in collusion with a paid refugee contractor and the US State Department, while trying to keep the plan secret from the public, is not a good model for success.”