Every state in the US has had a female member of Congress except for one: Vermont. However, this year, there were two women vying for the Democratic nomination: Becca Balint, State Senate President, and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray. Balint, a progressive democrat, was backed by Bernie Sanders and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She beat out Gray, a moderate democrat, and will continue her journey to Congress against Republican Nominee Liam Madden in November. Vermont is a deeply blue state and has not had a Republican member of Congress since 1992.
Balint was a middle school teacher in Brattleboro before she got into politics. In her campaign video, she spoke about why it was important to her to be a role model for her students.
“I think I was a middle school teacher because I did not want any of my students to feel that sense of fear that they weren’t going to have someone showing up for them,” she said. “You show up as a middle school teacher because you believe in [the] possibility that change and growth can happen,” she continued.
Balint also shared in her campaign video that when she first moved to Brattleboro with her partner, her neighbor had an anti-gay sign in front of their house. Balint, who was also pregnant at the time, was worried that they wouldn’t be able to make Brattleboro a safe place for themselves. However, she said from “a wave, to a conversation, to a borrowed lawn mower,” she was able to connect on a personal level with her neighbor, and “the sign came down.”
Balint has supported the expansion of gun safety measures and was a lead sponsor of an amendment to the state Constitution to guarantee abortion rights, which will be on the state ballot in November. She also highlighted Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, and paid family and medical leave as high-priority topics during her campaign.
“We’ve got to bring people together around an agenda that works for all and not just the few, and that’s what Becca’s campaign is about,” Mr. Sanders said while campaigning for Ms. Balint last month.