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Thursday, March 17, 2022

Essex Woman Launches Campaign for Vermont's Lone U.S. House Seat

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2022 at 4:33 PM

Sianay Chase Clifford - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Sianay Chase Clifford
A former congressional aide from Essex is making a run for Vermont's lone U.S. House seat, vowing to use her progressive values to fight for working families if elected to serve in Washington, D.C.

Sianay Chase Clifford, 27, is the fourth candidate in a crowded field of Democrats, all of whom are women. Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, state Senate Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham) and Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) have already announced campaigns for the seat now held by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). He is running to replace retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Burlington resident Ericka Redic is so far the only candidate running for the House seat as a Republican.

Chase Clifford said she saw “something missing” when she considered who to support in the race. While she's a first-time candidate, she promised to work hard as a champion for Vermont's most vulnerable.

“As I was talking to folks, especially folks that I think share my values and share that similar vision of progressive action throughout our state,” Chase Clifford said, “I came to this decision that, yeah, let's just dive in. You know, if not me, who?”

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Christina Nolan Launches U.S. Senate Campaign as Republican

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2022 at 12:50 PM

Christina Nolan - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Christina Nolan
Former U.S. attorney Christina Nolan formally launched a bid for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, casting herself as a moderate Republican intent on easing the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.

Nolan is seeking to be the first woman Vermont sends to Congress and the first Republican senator to represent the Green Mountain State since Jim Jeffords, who ultimately left the party in 2001 while still in office.

Nolan acknowledged last month that she was exploring a run, but Tuesday's announcement, via a video campaign ad and interview with Fox News, made it official.

"I'm running for Senate because we need leadership that will unify the country," Nolan said in the ad. "We need leadership that will work across the aisle to make positive change for Vermonters and their families."

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Monday, January 31, 2022

Gray Outpaces Balint in Early Fundraising for U.S. House Race

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2022 at 11:32 PM

From left: Sen. Becca Balint, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • From left: Sen. Becca Balint, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray
In the first month of her campaign for U.S. House, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray raised about $318,000 — some $118,000 more than Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham), who entered the contest a week after Gray.

The figures were disclosed in campaign finance reports the two filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, the deadline for candidates to detail the money they raised and spent during the last quarter of 2021.

Gray launched her campaign on December 6 while Balint followed suit on December 13. A third Democrat, Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden), joined the race on January 13; her first campaign finance disclosure will be due April 15, after the first quarter of 2022.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Welch and Others Urge Investigation of 'Exorbitant' Travel Nurse Prices

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2022 at 2:35 PM

DIANA BOLTON
  • Diana Bolton
Nearly 200 federal lawmakers — including Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) — are urging the White House to investigate agencies that employ travel nurses, suggesting that the “exorbitant” rates charged during much of the pandemic may amount to illegal price gouging.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Welch and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), cited reports of travel nurse staffing agencies doubling or tripling their rates during the thorniest months of the pandemic in attempts to profit off the crisis.

In a letter to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, the lawmakers asked for a federal investigation of these price increases to determine whether they violate any anti-competitive or consumer protection laws.

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Vermont Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale Joins Race for U.S. House

Posted By on Thu, Jan 13, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) at Thursday's kickoff - SASHA GOLDSTEIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sasha Goldstein ©️ Seven Days
  • Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) at Thursday's kickoff
Updated at 3:50 p.m.

State Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) has joined the race for U.S. House, becoming the third Democratic woman to launch a run for Vermont’s lone seat in the chamber.

“I'm running for Congress because I plan to be Vermont’s fighter for our working families, our democracy, our climate,” Ram Hinsdale told Seven Days in an interview on Tuesday. “I have a decade-long history in the legislature of dreaming big and delivering, and not walking away from the negotiating table until I've delivered. In this once-in-a-generation moment, I believe that will serve Vermonters and the nation well.”

Ram Hinsdale, 35, joins Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham) and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the hunt for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat who announced a run for U.S. Senate following Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) retirement announcement in December.

Both seats are up for election in November, but party primaries will be held this August.

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Monday, December 13, 2021

Vermont Sen. Becca Balint Announces Run for U.S. House

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2021 at 6:26 AM

Sen. Becca Balint - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Becca Balint
Updated at 3:40 p.m.

Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint (D-Windham) on Monday announced her candidacy for U.S. House, joining Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Balint’s decision ensures Vermonters will have at least two women to choose from — and maybe more — when they vote in 2022 for the next member of the state’s historically all-male congressional delegation.

If she prevails, Balint, 53, would not only be the first woman Vermonters send to Washington, D.C., but also the first openly gay person.

“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 announcing her run. "We have to deliver on some big promises for Vermont working families and that is going to take courage and kindness.” 

Balint grew up in Peekskill, N.Y., and graduated from Smith College. She worked as a rock-climbing instructor at a Quaker-inspired summer camp in Plymouth, Vt., where in 2000 she met her future wife, Elizabeth Wohl. The couple settled in Brattleboro in 2007 and have two children.

A former middle school teacher, Balint was first elected to the state Senate in 2014. Last fall, her colleagues elected her to be the first woman president pro tem of the Democrat-dominated chamber, making her arguably the most powerful lawmaker in the state.

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Monday, December 6, 2021

Lt. Gov. Molly Gray Announces Run for U.S. House

Posted By on Mon, Dec 6, 2021 at 8:00 AM

Lt. Gov. Molly Gray - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Lt. Gov. Molly Gray
Updated at 12:46 p.m.

She's running. Democratic Lt. Gov. Molly Gray on Monday announced her candidacy for Vermont's lone U.S. House seat, seeking a congressional perch just one year after she won her first-ever election.

“Our workforce is shrinking, housing is unaffordable, families are forced to choose between caring for loved ones and paying the bills, and our next generation is struggling to make it work," Gray said in a statement announcing her run. "From affordable, quality child care to workforce development, I’m committed to working hard to bring real solutions to Vermont families."

Her campaign page went live Monday morning, and in an interview later in the day, Gray said she’s “running for Congress to be a champion for Vermont.”

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

What Happens to Leahy's $2 Million Campaign War Chest?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2021 at 11:57 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle at his retirement announcement - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle at his retirement announcement
When U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) finishes his final term at the beginning of 2023, he’ll have a much smaller job ahead of him: deciding what to do with the unspent money in his campaign coffers.

Leahy’s campaign account is holding a little over $2 million, according to the Federal Election Commission, which maintains detailed reports about candidates’ donations and expenditures.

The FEC has strict rules about how candidates and campaigns can spend donations, both during campaigns and after. The money can be used for some of the costs of winding down the campaign committee, for charitable contributions, and for contributions to other federal, state, and local political candidates and committees.

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Welch Announces He'll Run for Leahy's Senate Seat

Posted By and on Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Rep. Peter Welch - FILE ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File ©️ Seven Days
  • Rep. Peter Welch
Updated at 3:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) will run for the Senate seat left open by the upcoming retirement of Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt).

In a brief statement, the congressman focused on the battle he’ll wage for a progressive agenda. “We are at a pivotal moment,” Welch said in the statement. “Vermont families are struggling through multiple crises: a global pandemic, the consequences of climate change, and a racial reckoning generations in the making.”

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Leahy Won't Seek Reelection Next Year

Posted By on Mon, Nov 15, 2021 at 10:14 AM

Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle on Monday - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy and his wife Marcelle on Monday
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection next year, ending months of speculation and creating a rare opening in a Vermont congressional seat.

At an event at the Vermont Statehouse, Leahy, 81, said he plans to retire from the U.S. Senate, where he is the fifth-longest serving senator in the chamber's history. He was first elected in 1974, and is currently in his eighth term.

“It is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will carry on this work for our great state,” he said, appearing emotional as he made the announcement. “It’s time to come home.”

Leahy spoke to a packed room of staff, friends and media — the same room where he launched his first Senate campaign. The senior senator spoke from prepared remarks for nearly 20 minutes, recounting what he considered his proudest achievements in Congress. His wife, Marcelle, who began chemotherapy treatments in May for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, was by his side.

“While I’ll continue to serve Vermont, Marcelle and I have reached the conclusion that it is time to put down the gavel,” he said, adding that representing Vermont has been his “greatest honor.”

Leahy did not elaborate on the reason for his retirement, and did not immediately take questions. He left to return to Washington, D.C., to attend a presidential signing ceremony for the $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Leahy chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves as president pro tempore, giving him outsized influence despite hailing from one of the country's smallest states. He presided over former president Donald Trump's impeachment trial earlier this year.

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