Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray to seek US House seat

Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 8:00 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2021 at 7:50 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s lieutenant governor is launching her bid for Vermont’s lone congressional seat up for grabs next year.

Molly Gray was elected for the first time less than a year ago. But she says she wants to tackle the root issues Vermont faces, and she says that’s only possible by passing policies at the federal level.

Like when she ran for lieutenant governor, Gray says demographic challenges are her top priority.

“A housing shortage, a real palpable workforce crisis, a child care crisis: they’re profound and they’re not going to be met by Vermont alone,” she said.

Gray grew up on a farm in Newbury, attended UVM and went on to work abroad with the Red Cross, and eventually, Congressman Peter Welch.

She came onto Vermont’s political scene last year and emerged from a crowded Democratic primary field, eventually besting Republican Scott Milne 50% to 43% to become lieutenant governor.

In that office, Gray presided over the Vermont Senate and traveled abroad with Vermont’s National Guard as part of the state partnership program with North Macedonia. Gray says she’s the right one to represent Vermont.

“I have the experience not only to be ready on day one to have an office open and off the ground to work for Vermonters, but I also have a deep understanding of the needs of our state,” Gray said.

Gray has proven adept at fundraising, pulling in over $50,000 in the first half of this year without even being in a race.

Political analysts say this early on in the campaign cycle, specific policy proposals aren’t as important as discussions around party ideology.

“What that represents for the policies that she’s likely to support as a member of the Democratic Party, she’s not going to be a Kyrsten Sinema or a Joe Manchin,” said Jack Gierzynski, a political scientist at the University of Vermont.

While she campaigns, Gray will still have to preside over the Senate. She says she is gearing up for the session but also focusing on the need to tackle Vermont’s problems in D.C.

“It’s going to take time and clear thinking and investments in strong priorities,” Gray said.

Gray’s announcement Monday comes on the heels of Congressman Peter Welch announcing he is running for Sen. Patrick Leahy’s seat opening up next year.

She is the first to announce her candidacy out of a field of suspected candidates, including Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint and Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale.

A Republican challenger has yet to come forward.

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