Montpelier, VT. — Another key Vermont politician has thrown their hat into the ring for Peter Welch’s seat in the House of Representatives.
Sen. President Pro Tem Becca Balint, of Brattleboro, made the big announcement outside the Vermont History Museum this morning, joining Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the race for the Democratic nomination.
When asked whether or not she had a campaign slogan, Balint said it wasn’t something she had thought much, before answering, “I think I kind of do – it’s courage and kindness.”
Balint’s prepared remarks echoed those sentiments.
“I’m scrappy, and I’m not afraid of a hard fight. I’m not afraid of some bruising battles. And I’m excited, so excited, and honored, and eager to stand before you as a candidate for the United States Congress,” said Balint.
Balint has a passion for the past, which has been a guiding force throughout her career. “My grandfather was murdered on a death march in the Holocaust when he stopped to help a fellow prisoner and they both fell behind. This family story has both haunted me and guided me. It is, in some ways, at the very core of who I am and why I do this work.”
Balint said her family has taught her to be vigilant and to listen to others who have deep disagreements. She reflected on moving to Brattleboro with her wife, attorney Elizabeth Wohl, just to find their neighbor had a ‘Take Back Vermont’ sign on their garage, leftover from the fight against civil unions.
Her first emotion was fear, but it was overcome with determination.
“I decided I would just keep showing up believing there was a way to bridge the divide between us. So what started as conversations across the fence, with borrowed tools, with gifts for our children, and baked goods shared with them, the sign came down. It came down.”
In the Senate, Balint has worked to pass legislation for paid sick leave, minimum wage increases, reproductive rights and climate change. She said her hopes for a House seat rest on a will to get things done for Vermonters, regardless of the challenges.
“It’s about navigating tricky conversations and it’s about accepting that we’re all flawed, every single one of us” said Balint. “Despite our flaws, we can be beautiful neighbors, we can be strong community members, and we can be good colleagues with each other. It’s about making sure that the center of everything we do is about meeting the needs of our neighbors, the working people of Vermont.”