Campaign Countdown: Meet the Vt. candidates for US House

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The midterm election takes place in only three weeks and features the race for Vermont’s lone seat in Congress. With Representative Peter Welch seeking to replace Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat Becca Balint and Republican Liam Madden are vying for the open seat.

Becca Balint is highly favored to win the U.S. House race, but that hasn’t stopped her from a busy campaign schedule trail her last-minute pitch to voters. Her signature message -- a vote for experience.

“Have a strong record of service in the state Senate and I’m proud of the work that I have been able to do with my House counterparts and with the governor over the last few years during COVID,” Balint said.

The Vermont Senate President Pro Tem says getting up and getting out on the campaign trail is fueled by issues Vermonters are facing every day. “The housing crisis, the struggles to find child care, insurance for families around medical leave,” Balint said.

She is also pushing for improved access to mental health care, single-payer health care, treatment for the opioid epidemic, gun violence prevention, women’s reproductive rights, canceling student debt, and tackling climate change. Talking with voters, she also wants to secure the fabric of our democracy.

“They are very concerned with where we are headed as a democracy. and so to be somebody that is set on shoring up the democracy and voting rights and reproductive freedoms here in Vermont,” Balint said.

If elected, Balint says she plans to reach across the political aisle to fellow lawmakers on issues when possible.

And on her opponent, Liam Madden... “{He} has no experience passing any legislation that has impacted Vermonters,” Balint said. She also calls into question the self-described Independent’s position on the Republican ballot. “We don’t know what Liam is.”

Madden though, says he knows exactly what he is. “On principle, I am an Independent but on practicality, I need to participate in the two-party system to be relevant in it,” he said.

Madden says he chose the Republican Party because the pre-primary Democratic field was too crowded with candidates already raising large sums of money. He says his main platform is re-thinking democracy. “What we have is a political system that just tries to elevate one side over the other and I think that is just incredibly dysfunctional,” he said.

On the issues, Madden’s main priority is climate change. He works in the solar industry and pitches the need for all renewable resources. On abortion rights, he says access to reproductive health is critical to women’s dignity and supports legislation to protect a woman’s right to choose, but only to a certain point. “After a baby can live outside the womb independently -- along with 86% of Americans -- I believe that child has rights that should be protected.,” he said.

He also says he supports affordable, high-quality health care and an economy that works for Americans. His elevator pitch to voters -- try something new. “I believe that we are capable of a profoundly more healthy way of doing politics and it’s not based on sending a new face to Washington over and over and wondering why the results continue to disappoint us,” Madden said.

There are four other names on the ballot in the U.S. House race. They include Ericka Redic, one of the Republican candidates who lost to Madden in the primary, who is now running as a Libertarian. She says she wants three things from the government -- integrity, transparency, and accountability. Redic says the first issues she wants to take up are term limits, reining in spending, and getting rid of omnibus bills in Congress. She hopes to win support from true Republicans, saying that Madden is not one of them.

“I’ll have the GOP votes. The ones that I will lose are folks who don’t or aren’t engaged in the political process, that don’t know Liam is not a Republican. Or, there are people who unwisely believe a moderate can beat Becca -- because again -- we have already seen the moderate-Progressive matchup and the moderate lost,” Redic said.

Also on the ballot are Independents Matt Druzba from Burlington, Adam Ortiz from Rutland, and Luke Talbot from Brighton.

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