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Primary Preview: Meet the Democrats running for US House - Pt. 1

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - There are four Democrats facing off in the August primary for Vermont’s lone U.S. House seat.

State Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint and Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and have garnered the bulk of support and endorsements. In our Campaign Countdown, Calvin Cutler spoke with the other two Democratic candidates -- former congressional staffer Sianay Chase Clifford, and Rutland physician Louis Meyers.

The playing field is set for Vermont’s congressional race in the leadup to the August primaries.

Social worker turned congressional staffer Sianay Chase Clifford is pitching herself as the progressive voice in the race. She says Democrats in Congress need a new direction.

“It’s not about supporting who’s the least harmful of the options. We should have inspirational and aspirational leadership and I have been left wanting,” Chase Clifford said.

Like Becca Balint, she supports Medicare for all, but says she wants to avoid privatization. “Making sure that the pieces of public health care that we do have, like Medicaid and Medicare, are as expansive as possible,” Chase Clifford said.

Originally from Washington D.C., Democrat Louis Meyers, has worked as a probation officer and is currently an internal medicine physician at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

“I see it as an expansion of what I’ve been doing for really my whole career,” Meyers said.

He previously ran an unsuccessful bid for the Vermont Senate. He launched his congressional campaign with a focus on improving health care and criminal justice reform. Meyers says big campaign platforms might not make it across the finish line if Republicans gain the majority in the House.

Instead, he says he’d chip away at smaller pieces of legislation that can gain bipartisan support

“They may not be the groundbreaking legislation that some in our party may like but they can make a difference in hundreds of thousands or millions of people’s lives,” Meyers said.

Vermont is the only state that has not sent a woman to Congress and many say that needs to change, but Meyers thinks Vermonters should have a choice. “The idea that we have to elect a woman period, regardless of who it is, is not really first and foremost in their minds. I think what’s on their minds is how tough it is to get by financially, how tough it is to get by in the rest of the world,” he said.

Both Chase Clifford and Meyers face an uphill climb for name recognition and fundraising compared to Gray and Balint.

“For me, it’s not a battle of who’s going to raise more but a battle of who’s going to organize better, be in the community more, and be the most available to Vermonters,” Chase Clifford said.

Early voting for the August 9the primary begins on June 25th

Republicans Ericka Redic and Anya Tynio will also face each other in the GOP primary.

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