Candidates for US House debate on WCAX
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Democrat Becca Balint and Republican nominee Liam Madden both want to fill the position left vacant by Congressman Peter Welch, who is running for the Senate. In a debate on WCAX Tuesday evening, the two candidates highlighted differences in how they would tackle climate change and how they would bridge political divides.
“What I’m interested in is how do we get us back to a place where we have a workforce that is robust and housing that is strong,” Balint said.
Madden is a Marine veteran turned antiwar advocate and solar industry professional. He contends the country’s democratic systems are long overdue for an overhaul, with goals of breaking down the two-party system, terms limits and more voter referendums.
“We need new forms of citizen engagement that help us bypass politicians, bypass corporate money and bypass gridlock,” Madden said.
Balint says she’s the choice for Vermont and points to her resume highlighted by her work in the Legislature. She says she’s written and voted on bills and has worked with others across the aisle.
“The way that you do that is by taking your job seriously, doing your homework and working with a broad coalition of people,” Balint said.
On funding Social Security, Madden and Balint both agree more could come out of the national defense budget.
The candidates also staked their positions on Article 22, the reproductive liberty amendment to the state Constitution, with Balint for and Madden against.
“It’s really designed to codify Roe to make sure women have reproductive rights including the right to an abortion here in Vermont,” Balint said.
“Where it becomes complex for me to reconcile is when the autonomy over your own body begins to conflict with the autonomy over someone else’s body,” Madden said.
However, one of the most notable moments of the debate was not a party or policy disagreement, but an emotional agreement-- the toll of the overdose crisis. Madden recently lost his brother due to an overdose.
“This is about purpose and community. And if we don’t have ways to instill that through our schools and through our economy, then it doesn’t matter what resources we pour into whatever services,” Madden said.
Balint agrees and says a focus on harm reduction will save lives.
Ballots are already in voters’ hands ahead of Election Day. Libertarian Ericka Redic and independents Matt Druzba, Adam Ortiz and Luke Talbot are also on the ballot.
If you missed the live debate, you can watch it in the player below.
There is still one more debate to come.
- 10/6 Gubernatorial debate
- 10/12 Lt. gov. debate
- 10/18 Congressional debate
- 10/26 Senate debate
The debates all start at 7 p.m. and last an hour.
Our 6 p.m. broadcast will only be half an hour on those nights.
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