With the Aug. 9 primaries fast approaching, Vermont News & Media sent a questionnaire out to candidates with three questions: 1) What qualifications make you the best candidate for this office? 2) What are the three most important issues or challenges going forward and how would you address them? and 3) What Vermont traditions do we need to preserve in the Green Mountain State?
Peter Welch, Democratic candidate for U.S. SenateHi there! I’m Peter Welch, and I’ve been Vermont’s Congressman for the past 16 years. I’m running to be your next Senator. I have always felt that it’s not worth it to be in politics unless you aspire to an ideal and you struggle — emotionally, intellectually, and morally — with the possibilities, we can achieve if we open our minds to it. I started to act on my aspiration when I was 20 years old, and I left college and moved to Chicago to become a community organizer, helping African American families fight against housing discrimination. I learned in that role the power of the law, as oftentimes the worst discriminatory conduct was legal, and the power of working together as a team. It is why I went to law school and ran for public office — to help change the unequal and unjust laws and to do so by bringing people together as a team to get it done. Those principles of organizing are still how I approach my job today. I try to listen — to hear what needs to change — more than I talk. And I work every day to find common ground with people different from me to deliver for all Vermonters.
This is a crucial moment for our country and for Vermont. We face multiple unprecedented challenges: our democracy is under threat from national Republicans who have embraced autocratic, corrupt and violent tactics in their pursuit of power; growing economic inequality made worse by a once-in-a-generation pandemic; and climate change that is an existential threat to the planet. With a 50/50 Senate, this seat could be the difference between addressing climate change, protecting women’s reproductive rights, lowering costs for working families, and Mitch McConnell and his extreme agenda controlling the Senate again. We need leaders with integrity and the experience to deliver for all working people, not the wealthy and powerful. I’m ready on day one to serve as Vermont’s next Senator.
This election is an all-hands-on-deck moment, and the stakes have never been higher: the control of the Senate will determine whether we finally break the cycle of special interests lining their pockets at the expense of the middle class, whether we save our planet, and whether our civil rights and our democracy, survive. During this crucial moment for our country and for Vermont, we can strengthen our democracy, break the back of trickle-down economics to deliver for working families, and save our planet for our kids. It will be hard. But, together, we can do it.