Vermont’s only member of the House of Representatives, Democrat Peter Welch, announced Monday that he will run for…
Vermont’s only member of the House of Representatives, Democrat Peter Welch, announced Monday that he will run for the US Senate seat now held by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.
Welch’s decision comes a week after the 81-year-old said he would not seek re-election for the seat he first won in 1974.
Welch, 74, said the 2022 election will determine control of the Senate, and with it, what it can bring to Vermont families.
“We are at a pivotal moment,” Walsh said in a statement distributed by his campaign. “Vermont families struggle through multiple crises: a global pandemic, the consequences of climate change, and the making of generations of racial calculus”.
He said that if elected he would be willing to fight for gradual change from day one in office.
He promised to continue the struggle to ensure working families have access to child care and paid family leave. He said he would also work to pass a Green New Deal to protect the environment, cut health care and prescription drug costs, make sure women control their health care decisions and protect voting rights and American democracy.
The Leahy and Now Welch decisions would create the first open seats in Vermont’s three-member congressional delegation since 2006, when independent Bernie Sanders moved to the Senate and Welch took his seat in the House.
While the Senate seat will be open, Welch, who has always been one of Vermont’s top vote-takers during his years in the House, will have an immediate advantage.
Vermont’s famous Republican Governor Phil Scott has said he is not interested in running for the Senate. It’s unclear who the state’s Republican Party will find to run for the Senate or House seat.
Vermont has never sent a woman or individual from a racial minority to Washington. Several female politicians have expressed interest in running for a vacant seat, but the only person who has said she would run for the House of Representatives if Welch runs for the Senate is Democratic Senator Keisha Ram Hinsdale.
Welch, from Norwich, was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2006.
During his years at home, he worked for energy efficiency, lowering prescription drug prices, investing in infrastructure and expanding broadband in rural Vermont and country.
As of this year, Welch has served as the first vice president of the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives and a member of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
In the House, he served on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Oversight and Reform Committee.
Linda Fowler, professor emeritus of government at Dartmouth College, said Welch has developed a place for himself in the House of Representatives and is well liked there.
Welch was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He moved to Vermont in the early 1970s after graduating from law school. He served as a defense attorney and established his own law firm.
He was elected to the Vermont Senate in 1980 and became the first Democrat to be elected interim president of the Senate in 1985. He was re-elected to the state Senate in 2002 and held that position until being elected to the House of Representatives four years later.
Welch said that although the country faces severe challenges, he is optimistic.
“I’ve seen Vermonters come together to solve problems,” he said. “We focus on solutions, not on who gets the credit. That’s the Vermont way. That’s how I get things done as a Vermont congressman and how I’m going to get things done if elected to the United States Senate.”
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