Primary Preview: Meet the Democrats running for US House - Pt. 2
MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Four Democrats are vying for Vermont’s open U.S. House seat and will face off in the August primary election.
In the second part of his Primary Preview of the Democrats, Calvin Cutler looks at Lt. Governor Molly Gray and Senate President Becca Balint, who are widely expected to garner the most votes.
Lt. Governor Molly Gray grew up on a farm in Newbury. The Vermont Law School graduate has worked abroad with the Red Cross, as a staffer for Congressman Peter Welch, and as an assistant attorney general in Vermont.
Gray first emerged on the state’s political scene in 2020 when she won the race for lt. governor. “I saw my role as one like a judge presiding over a courtroom, being fair, just following the rules, trying to give Vermonters a real appreciation for the integrity of the legislative process,” Gray said.
Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint spent the first part of her career as a middle school teacher in Windham County before she was elected to the state Senate in 2104. Last year she was elected by fellow senators as the first openly gay female president pro tem. In that role, Balint was in charge of setting the agenda for the Senate.
“You have to be able to bring people together, make compromises when it makes sense to make compromises, and stand firmly on your values when it doesn’t make sense to compromise,” Balint said.
Both Democrats support many of the same policies. Gray is seen as the moderate pick and has close ties to the party establishment, whereas Balint is viewed as further to the left and draws from the Progressive wing of the party.
Both agree the real difference lies in their track record. Gray says her experience working overseas in the court system and on Capitol Hill make her the choice for Vermont. “In electing Molly Gray to serve as Vermont’s first congresswoman, Vermonters not only get experience in the operations of Congress and the day-to-day of running the office but also the diversity of experience that we need to meet this moment,” Gray said.
Balint points to her experience as a lawmaker and legislative leader, having to cast votes and be held accountable to Vermonters. “Even when you are going to get hundreds of nasty emails or phone calls, you have to know that even if you are doing something that is unpopular at the moment, if you know that is the right thing to do, you have to stand by your values,” Balint said.
On The Channel 3 News on Thursday, Calvin Cutler we’ll take a closer look at other distinctions between Balint and Gray on policy and where they draw their fundraising support from.
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