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Vermont Senate president will run for US House seat

December 13, 2021 GMT
FILE — Vermont State Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, addresses the Vermont Senate, Jan. 6, 2021, at the State House, in Montpelier, Vt. Balint, of Brattleboro, Vt., the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as the president of the Vermont State Senate, said Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 that she's running to occupy the state's lone U.S. House seat. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)
FILE — Vermont State Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, addresses the Vermont Senate, Jan. 6, 2021, at the State House, in Montpelier, Vt. Balint, of Brattleboro, Vt., the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as the president of the Vermont State Senate, said Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 that she's running to occupy the state's lone U.S. House seat. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)
FILE — Vermont State Sen. Becca Balint, D-Windham, addresses the Vermont Senate, Jan. 6, 2021, at the State House, in Montpelier, Vt. Balint, of Brattleboro, Vt., the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as the president of the Vermont State Senate, said Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 that she's running to occupy the state's lone U.S. House seat. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP, File)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The first woman and first openly gay person to serve as the president of the Vermont state Senate said Monday that she’s running to occupy the state’s lone U.S. House seat.

Becca Balint, of Brattleboro, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the position.

“I’m running because I believe that, even with the challenges of today, we cannot back away from fighting for each other,” Balint said in a statement. “We have to deliver on some big promises for Vermont working families and that is going to take courage and kindness.”

Vermont’s congressional seat will be open in November. Democratic incumbent Rep. Peter Welch is seeking the U.S. Senate seat after Sen. Patrick Leahy announced he would not seek reelection, after nearly a half-century in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be up for reelection in 2024.

The Senate and House contests are the first openings in Vermont’s congressional delegation since 2006. Vermont has never sent a woman to congress.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Molly Gray has already announced she will seek the nomination for the House seat. Other candidates are possible.

So far, no Republicans have announced plans to seek the nomination.

Balint, 53, a teacher, was born in Germany in a U.S. Army hospital. She grew up in upstate New York. She moved to Vermont in 1997 and was first elected to the state Senate in 2014.

Balint said that if elected, her priorities would be to invest in infrastructure that will create jobs and opportunity in rural communities, pass a Green New Deal, protect reproductive rights, lower health care costs and work toward a Medicare for All system.