To the editor: I am a state employee and I'm voting for Becca Balint. My piece today does not reflect any specific views of my employer or my bargaining team, these are solely my own thoughts.
The Vermont State Employees Association released a slate of endorsements for contested primaries for the 2022 election year. I am a member of the Vermont State Employees Association, a resident of Brattleboro, and a member of my unit's bargaining team. I'm writing to show that, despite VSEA's endorsement, I will be enthusiastically voting for Becca Balint in August for the United States House of Representatives.
I feel compelled to write this letter because of recent messaging from Becca Balint’s primary opponent which seems to try to paint LGBTQ+ political organizations supporting Becca as “special interests” trying to influence Vermont politics. I want to highlight why Becca has the qualities we want for our Representative in Congress.
Becca is a clear advocate for Vermonters and for Vermont state employees. She recently delivered a unanimous Senate override vote to the governor's veto to the new pension plan for state employees. Becca understood the importance of a quality pension in order for Vermont (as an employer) to compete with other state governments to attract new employees and new residents into the state. The pay and benefits package was a large reason I made the decision to relocate to Vermont in 2018. Many people were involved in the pension issue and the work that VSEA did to produce a solution does not go unnoticed. However, people who may have been in the room during discussions and people who took action to ensure that the proposal became reality are two separate things. Becca took direct action with the State Senate in both passing the bill and then ensuring the bill becomes implemented after the governor’s veto. I believe that if it wasn't for Becca Balint, we would not have had the plan that was proposed by VSEA.
Vermonters have an opportunity to elect a pro-union teacher to Congress. There is an opportunity for a woman to be in office that comes from a more rural part of the state who has shown clear interest in building up Vermont for everyone in the state, not solely the people that she may rub elbows with. Becca in Congress will mean that Vermont will have a prominent advocate on the national political stage. VSEA is an excellent organization that I will continue to be a proud member of. I have always been pro-union, and I will always be pro-union. That said, I believe VSEA missed an opportunity here.
I hope you join me in voting for Becca Balint for Congress in the August 9, 2022 Democratic Primary.
Brattleboro, July 29
Lukasik is a victim advocate at the office of the Windham County State’s Attorney, and a doctoral student at Northeastern University.