Becca Balint becomes Vermont’s 1st woman elected to Congress
Democrat Becca Balint has won the race for Vermont’s lone seat in the U.S. House, becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to represent the state in Congress.
Balint, the president of the Vermont state Senate and a former middle-school teacher, beat the other major party candidate, Liam Madden, an independent who won the Republican primary. Three independents and one libertarian candidate were also in the race.
The rare opening in Vermont’s three-member congressional delegation occurred after long-serving U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, announced last November that he would not seek reelection. Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch ran for Leahy’s seat, opening up Vermont’s one seat in the U.S. House.
While Vermont is often considered one of the more liberal states in the country, with a higher-than-average percentage of women serving in the state Legislature, it recently became the only state to have never sent a woman to Congress.
In the Democratic primary, Balint beat Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, a more centrist candidate who was supported by the state’s Democratic establishment, including Leahy and former governors Howard Dean and Madeleine Kunin. Balint gained support from the progressive wing of the party, including independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The 54-year-old from Brattleboro has served four terms in the Vermont Senate, including as majority leader from 2017 to 2020. A former history and social studies teacher, she was elected state Senate president in 2021, becoming the first woman and first openly gay person to serve in that role.
Balint said she wants to do “a really good job on behalf of all Vermonters,” and make sure they feel they can contact her easily and have an office “that’s working hard on their behalf.”