To the Editor:

I had the opportunity this week to join my neighbors in attending a forum for candidates seeking to become Vermont’s sole representative in the U.S. House hosted by the Shelburne Democrats. In conversations with friends and neighbors I’ve often heard people say that all the candidates are great and, regardless of who wins the Democratic primary, we’ll be electing a woman as our party’s nominee. However, as I listened to the candidates, I was struck by how different they are, and that difference can best be summed up by the word depth — depth of experience and depth of character.

Becca Balint, as the president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate, a legislator and a former teacher, has 30 years of leadership and experience in public service. This depth of experience has enabled her to pass historic legislation on gun safety, reproductive freedom and affordable housing, to name just a few of her achievements.

Balint also has depth of character. She has a reputation as a consensus builder, so much so that Democrats, Republicans, independents and progressives unanimously voted for her to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate.

In contrast, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray is asking for our vote when she herself didn’t value our democracy enough to vote for 10 years — including in the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Gray has some experience as congressional staffer, and in the largely ceremonial role of lieutenant governor, but she lacks experience in legislating.

As a candidate, if you don’t care enough about our democracy to exercise your own right to vote, then you certainly can’t have mine. Gray is asking us to trust her with the responsibility of a representative when we couldn’t trust her with the responsibility of a citizen.

Balint is asking for our vote to represent us in Congress at a time when climate change, reproductive rights, safety from gun violence, income disparity and our democracy are all on the line.

I’m supporting Balint because, in this moment, we need someone with experience, leadership skills and the strongest character to serve Vermont.

Shana Morrow Trombley

Shelburne

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