First debate on the books as race for open U.S. House seat from Vermont takes shape


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The first debate in Vermont’s race for the open seat of the United States House of Representatives is in the books. The event highlighted four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, to replace Rep. Peter Welch, (D) Vermont. Candidates include: Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray of Burlington Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Becca Balint of Brattleboro Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Chittenden County Former Congressman Sianay Chase Clifford of Essex The debate was hosted by VT Digger and was entirely virtual. The contestants participated in short presentations, answered questions sent in by Vermonters, and asked each other questions as well. Some of the topics discussed were: If the United States should be involved in UkraineHow it would work alongside Republican colleaguesHealth and MedicareThe climate crisisAgricultural economics and support for the Matthew Dickinson, professor of political science at Middlebury College , said there was no clear favorite in this race yet. As all of these candidates were all from the same party, Professor Dickinson added that it was important that they debate platforms to differentiate themselves. That, he added, will help Vermonters as they try to choose a candidate who could hold the seat for years to come. “Who do you think has the type of leadership temperament you want to see representing the state of Vermont in the nation’s capital?” said Dickinson. “This is literally a once-in-a-generation opportunity, so if the story holds, whoever is elected in November to this seat could stay there for a while.” The full debate can be found here.

The first debate in Vermont’s race for the open seat of the United States House of Representatives is in the books.

The event highlighted four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, to replace Rep. Peter Welch, (D) Vermont. Candidates include:

  • Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray of Burlington
  • Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Becca Balint of Brattleboro
  • Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Chittenden County
  • Former Congressman Sianay Chase Clifford of Essex

The debate was moderated by VT Digger and was entirely virtual. The contestants participated in short presentations, answered questions sent in by Vermonters, and the contestants asked each other questions as well.

Some of the topics covered were:

  • If the United States should be involved in Ukraine
  • How they would work alongside fellow Republicans
  • Health and health insurance
  • The climate crisis
  • Agricultural economics and support for state farmers

Matthew Dickinson, professor of political science at Middlebury College, said there was no clear leader in this race yet.

As all of these candidates are all from the same party, Professor Dickinson added that it was important that they debate platforms to differentiate themselves. That, he added, will help Vermonters as they try to choose a candidate who could hold the seat for years to come.

“Who do you think has the type of leadership temperament you want to see representing the state of Vermont in the nation’s capital?” said Dickinson. “This is literally a once-in-a-generation opportunity, so if the story holds, whoever is elected in November to this seat could stay there for a while.”

The full debate can be found here.

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