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Becca Balint

Becca Balint, president of the Vermont Senate, defeated Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the Democratic primary for the state's open U.S. House seat on August 9, 2022. (Photo: Becca Balint).

Becca Balint, Backed by Bernie Sanders, Wins Vermont US House Primary

"This was only possible because of people from every corner of Vermont who banded together to work and vote for a brighter future," said the victorious candidate.

Kenny Stancil

Becca Balint, a former public school teacher and current president of the Vermont Senate, notched a victory for progressives on Tuesday when she won the Democratic primary for the state's lone seat in the U.S. House.

"Hunger is a policy choice. Homelessness is a policy choice. We can make different choices."

Supported by democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders—Vermont's most popular and influential political figure—Balint soundly defeated Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, who was backed by the state's retiring U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a corporate Democrat. With nearly all of the ballots counted, Balint is beating Gray by a margin of 60.6% to 37%.

"I'm humbled and honored by this victory," Balint tweeted Wednesday morning. "This was only possible because of people from every corner of Vermont who banded together to work and vote for a brighter future. This is your victory, because this has always been a movement by and for all VTers. Together we made history."

"The challenges we face are immense, and too many people still live on the margins, struggling with homelessness, growing inequality, climate catastrophe, and a healthcare system that puts corporations before people," she continued.

"I will never, as long as I live, accept the unconscionable wealth gap in this country," said Balint. "Hunger is a policy choice. Homelessness is a policy choice. We can make different choices. The work is not easy, but it can be joyful."

Balint, the first woman and openly gay person to be elected president of the Vermont Senate, added that the state "has chosen a bold vision for the future, and I will be proud to represent us in Congress."

"We can preserve democracy, tackle climate change, bridge inequality, and make the healthcare system work for all of us," said the fierce social justice advocate who supports the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, among other progressive priorities. "I know that we will."

After winning what many considered a proxy battle between the Democratic Party's egalitarian and neoliberal wings, Balint is poised to become Vermont's first woman member of Congress. She is seeking the seat left open by Rep. Peter Welch (D), who is running to replace Leahy in the upper chamber.

A Republican has not been elected to Vermont's at-large House seat since 1988. Balint, who will face GOP nominee Liam Madden in November's midterms, is heavily favored to retain the seat for her party.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben, a Vermont resident, applauded Balint for running a "brilliant campaign." Assuming that Balint wins her upcoming contest, the U.S. will "have a new and powerful voice for rural progressivism!" he added.

Sanders also congratulated Balint, describing the candidate he endorsed as "the kind of person we need in Washington to tackle the countless crises we face, from the existential threat of climate change to affordable housing and healthcare."

"To the volunteers who knocked on doors, who made phone calls, who donated to our campaign," Balint wrote on social media, "I cannot thank you enough."

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