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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Vermont may elect its first woman to Congress this year

Montpelier, VT ( Associated Press) — With a rare inauguration in its congressional delegation this fall, Vermont is set to lose its pride as the only state that has never been represented by a woman in Washington.

Three women, including Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray and Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Becca Ballint, are among Democrats competing in the August 9 primary for the seat being vacated by Democrat Peter Welch, the state’s lone US House member, who is trying are to move to the Senate. Two Republican candidates registered to run in the midterm elections are also women.

Given Vermont’s liberal reputation, it might seem odd that it would be the last state to send a woman to Congress. But Vermont’s small population makes it one of a handful of states with the smallest possible congressional delegation—two senators and one House member. And like many states, Vermont has traditionally re-elected its office bearers, who have been white men who have served exceptionally long periods. This includes Democrat Patrick Leahy, who was first elected in 1974 and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in history.

“It’s a leadership bottleneck,” said Ellen Haney, executive director of Emerge Vermont, an organization that works to prepare women to run for alternative office. “And so when one keeps all of this to himself for too long, it closes the opportunity to everyone.”

Last November, Leahy announced that he would be retiring after eight terms in office. Within days, Welch said he would seek the Senate nomination, leaving the House seat vacant for the first time since 2006, when Welch would replace Ab-Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders has served on the Congressional delegation since 1991.

Honey, whose organization helped train some of the women running for House to campaign, said women bring a different experience to elected office than men. It matters, she said, on issues like abortion rights, a topic highlighted by a leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court that legalized abortion in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade’s decision will be reversed.

“I firmly believe — and I think a lot of other people believe strongly — that if women, Democratic women, were really at the table, there wouldn’t be such dangerous situations, because Women’s Living Experience Center There will be discussion and policy,” she said.

Democratic candidates support abortion rights. A referendum on the ballot in Vermont in November will ensure reproductive rights to the state’s constitution, the first such amendment in the country. The state also has a law protecting a woman’s right to an abortion.

“We need leaders going to Washington who are clear in making sure that Roe v. Wade is codified at the federal level, and I know that having (democratic) women in this race is a top priority,” Gray said.

Welch has also been a strong supporter of abortion rights and has called on Congress to codify the right to abortion. He believes choosing a woman as his successor will encourage more young people to run for office.

“This is an absolute moment and I couldn’t be more excited to state that these women have stepped up to meet the challenge,” Welch said in a statement. “Each candidate is unique and incredibly talented and I know they will use their experience to work hard for Vermonters in Congress should they be selected.”

Vermont remains an outlier at a time when the number of women serving in Washington continues to grow. In 1916, Montana committed Rep. Janet Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress, four years before the 19th Amendment gave women the constitutional right to vote.

Since then, approximately 400 women have served as U.S. Representatives, Representatives, Resident Commissioners, or Senators.

In 2018, Vermont became the last state without female representation in Congress when Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate.

Women seeking the Democratic nomination in the Vermont House race have not focused their campaigns on the possibility that one of them will be the state’s first woman elected to Congress. Instead they are promising to find solutions to build the workforce, ease the state’s affordable housing problem and combat the climate crisis, among other priorities central to the party.

“They’re not very far on these issues, and I think the election is going to turn on other things, like questions of temperament and experience and, frankly, name recognition,” said Matthew Dickinson, a political leader at Middlebury College. Professor of Science in.

Grey, lieutenant governor, was elected in 2020 in his first bid for political office. He is an attorney and a former Assistant State Attorney General.

Balint has served for eight years in the state Senate, including six years in leadership positions, the last two as pro-president temporary. She was formerly a middle school teacher.

A third Democratic candidate, Sienna Chase Clifford, is a social worker from Essex who previously worked for Representative Ayanna Pressley in Washington, D-Mass.

Candidates can create history in other ways also. If elected, Ballint would be the first openly gay man to represent Vermont in Congress, while Chase Clifford would be the first person of color to represent the state in Washington.

The registered GOP candidates for the House seat are accountant Erica Reddick, who lost the state Senate race in 2020, and Anya Tineo, who ran for the US House in 2018 and lost.

Radic says she will focus on fighting inflation, illegal immigration, drug abuse and government redundancies, especially as it relates to vaccine mandates. Tineo said on her website that she is a supporter of the Second Amendment, which advocates stronger border protections and supports the enactment of legislation that would reduce inflation, cut the national debt and balance the budget.

Two men, an independent from Brattleboro and a physician from South Burlington running as a Democrat, are also running for the House seat, but none have reported raising funds.

Although this fall’s election will probably break Vermont’s glass ceiling, it’s likely that there will be other openings in the state over the next few years.

Sanders, an independent, is 80 and faces re-election in 2024. Welch is 75 years old.

Haney said she would love to see all of Vermont’s top elected positions held by women.

“We have normalized male leadership throughout our history. And we’re used to seeing no one else but men in charge, and we think, ‘Oh, that’s okay,'” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with being in charge of all women, and that’s what I want to see. Am.”


For full midterm coverage follow the Associated Press at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter, https://twitter.com/ap_politics

World Nation News Desk
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