State Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, D-Windham, speaks on behalf of Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Molly Gray, left.

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Climate activist and author Bill McKibben has endorsed Molly Gray in her run for lieutenant governor, Gray’s campaign said Wednesday.

McKibben, the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, said he had the opportunity to meet with Gray and was “impressed by her vision, her clarity, and her forthrightness.”

“My experience working with others around the world leads me to believe that Vermont might be wise to end its drought of women in statewide office,” McKibben said.

Gray, the Democratic nominee and an assistant attorney general, is running against Republican nominee Scott Milne of Pomfret for the office. A Vermont Public Radio-PBS Vermont poll shows the race is tight, with 35 percent of voters surveyed supporting Gray, 31 percent supporting Milne and 24 percent undecided.

“I’ve long admired the work of Bill McKibben who has demonstrated that Vermont can lead nationally, and globally, in taking climate action” Gray said, according to the release. “Like me, I know he is deeply connected to our natural environment and working lands, and all that makes our state so special. I am honored to receive his support and look forward to drawing on his expertise as we work to protect Vermont’s land and environment for future generations.”

Gray and Milne have sparred in recent days over election voting records, the cost of the initiatives on their campaign platforms, and the use of political action committees and their contributions.

Milne was critical of Gray for not voting, and for misspeaking in asserting that she voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s also criticized Gray for the work of a PAC supporting her, which asserted incorrectly that Milne had not voted in the 2008, 2019, 2012 and 2018 primaries, and missed the general election in 2010. The Pomfret Town Clerk’s office later said Milne voted in the 2010 primary and general election and the 2012 presidential and state primaries, and submitted an absentee ballot too late to be counted in the 2018 primary.

Gray, in turn, criticized Milne for taking $200,000 in out-of-state PAC money from the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Greg Sukiennik covers Vermont government and politics for New England Newspapers. Reach him at