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Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham

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BRATTLEBORO — State Sen. Kesha Ram-Hinsdale announced her withdrawal from the U.S. House race and endorsement of Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint.

“I am thrilled to endorse Becca for Congress today. I got into this race because I believed Vermonters are looking for a fighting voice in Washington. What is clear to me is that they also need that support here at home,” said Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden, on Friday. “Becca is the experienced, qualified, and sincere fighter Vermonters need to meet this moment. She will not go to Washington to engage in politics-as-usual. She has conducted herself with so much integrity during this campaign — being open and vulnerable, and earning a broad base of support with her moral clarity.”

Ram Hinsdale said she would instead run for reelection to her state Senate seat.

“There is a far greater feeling than winning, and that is doing what is right. This moment calls on all of us to do what is best for our state and nation, and for me that means continuing to champion working people, climate action, and our civil rights here at home,” said Ram Hinsdale in a statement. “Given recent resignations across the Vermont Legislature and our statewide offices, it’s becoming clear that there’s a need for experienced leadership to remain in Montpelier. I began serving in 2009 during the start of the Great Recession, have led through Tropical Storm Irene, and brought marginalized voices into the room as the first woman of color to serve in the State Senate. We have critical work to do on racial, social, and environmental justice, and we are still not out of this pandemic.”

The U.S. House seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, who announced he will seek the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Patrick Leahy.

Balint and Ram Hinsdale quickly announced for Welch’s seat, as did Democrats Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, Louis Meyers and Sianay Chase Clifford, Independent Liam Madden and Republican Ericka Redic.

On Twitter Friday morning, Balint called Ram Hinsdale’s decision to drop out of the race “an incredibly difficult and politically mature thing to do.” She added in an interview on WCAX with Ram Hinsdale that the two “are both people who are really focused on the issues, focused on the policies and we want to make sure that Vermonters understand that all of the things that Kesha’s been fighting for — those are the same things that I’m going to be fighting for.”

And in a later statement, she added, “Kesha is an incredible public servant and a true champion for Vermonters. In an already historic race, she took an admirable step to ensure a woman goes to Washington whose values and experience can best serve Vermont and the nation at this time. She and I both know the stakes are high, and there is critical work to do in Washington and here at home. Kesha has been and will continue to be a champion for working people in the State Senate, building on her decade in the legislature as the people’s advocate for labor, climate action, and civil rights.”