Nolan to run for US Senate

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:30 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2022 at 12:39 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Christina Nolan, the former U.S. attorney for Vermont, now wants to add U.S. senator to her resume.

The Republican announced her candidacy on Tuesday, saying she would focus on reaching across the aisle to improve public safety, address inflation, and tackle the opioid crisis. “I think it’s time for new leadership in Washington that can bring people together unite them rather than divide them and I see an opportunity to go down there and do great things for Vermonters,” Nolan said.

The 42-year-old was appointed by President Donald Trump to be Vermont’s first female U.S. attorney in 2017, based on the recommendations of both Republican Governor Phil Scott and Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy. Nolan followed custom and resigned when President Biden was elected. Now she hopes to get elected by appealing to a broad base of Vermonters. “I think I’m very much an independent-minded Republican, a non-traditional Republican and I think fair to say a New England Republican. I think comparison to Susan Collins is probably appropriate. I’m an admirer of Susan Collins,” Nolan said.

If Nolan wins the GOP primary, she almost certainly will face Rep. Peter Welch in the general election. Welch has been Vermont’s lone Congressman since 2006, giving him broad statewide name recognition in a state that has voted Democratic in congressional and presidential races for more than a generation. But Nolan says she is not concerned by the potential for an uphill battle to win the seat against political party and tenure in Washington. “Just being in Washington for a long time is not an accomplishment. You know, I have been able to get things done in my time as U.S. attorney, very concrete accomplishments for Vermonters, and I think Vermonters are going to look at who is the most likely to go to Washington do the right thing by them and get things done,” she said.

Nolan says she wants to focus on reducing overdose deaths, which are up 70% t in Vermont in the past year. She also says she wants to decrease crime in the state. “This movement to defund the police across the country has coincided with the rise in crime in Vermont and across the country. So, I believe I have the background and track record to do the best by Vermonters,” Nolan said.

If elected, Nolan will be the first woman Vermont has sent to Congress. Her race comes at the same time several women are running in the democratic primary for Welch’s seat. “I’m stepping forward because I do believe we need female perspective in Washington. I do believe that. It’s important that Vermont send a woman to Congress and it doesn’t have to just be one woman. That can be more than one woman,” Nolan said.

Governor Phil Scott Tuesday voiced his support for Nolan, saying a Republican challenging a Democrat is healthy for Vermont’s democracy. “I like Christina’s style. She brings a lot to the table. She’s energetic, she has a great background, and she’s well versed in a number of subjects. Again, I’m encouraged to see a candidate step up with her credentials,” Scott said.

With a closely split Senate, Vermont Democrats say the race is not just about the individual but about partisan control in Washington. “Vermonters can’t risk electing someone who would put power in the hands of McConnell, allowing him to be the deciding vote on key issues affecting our families, workers, and those in need,” Vermont Democratic Party Chair Anne Lezak said in a statement. She says Democrats fully intend to send Two party members back to Washington -- Welch and whoever wins his seat in the U.S. House.

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