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To the editor: Rights and Democracy got it right by endorsing Vermont Senator Becca Balint in the U.S. Congressional race. Conversely, the Vermont State Employees Association got it wrong in endorsing Molly Gray.

VSEA's website says they endorsed Gray because she was the first to come forward and say the legislature should not make any cuts to state employees' pension benefits. They further say Gray didn't back off that position. Well, taking that position is easy when you have no authority to negotiate an agreement between the legislature and VSEA. No one thought doing so was possible, but Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint was key in making it happen. VSEA even credits Becca for helping get the players to the point where a mutually acceptable agreement was reached. VSEA nevertheless endorsed Gray who sent out a press release and then did not engage on the issue for the succeeding 18 months of hard negotiations. Becca did the hard work of helping the parties get to "Yes." Becca ensured unions had a seat at the table, she convened the working group that met every week for a year and a half to get this work done, and she led an unprecedented unanimous vote to override the governor's veto of the pensions deal.

Jean Lowell

Montpelier, June 24