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Rep. Becca Balint is a mom, teacher, and progressive leader who comes to Washington ready to fight for working families. Becca is the first woman and openly LGBTQ person to represent her home state of Vermont. As the daughter of working-class, immigrant parents, Becca is deeply committed to defending American democracy and protecting vulnerable communities.
A deep sense of justice, empathy and service has guided Becca’s career from the beginning - first as an educator who taught middle school in Windham County for fourteen years, then as an activist and State Senator and ultimately as the President Pro Tempore in 2021.
During her eight years in the state senate, she has served on the Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, Finance, and Rules committees. While Majority Leader, Becca led the passage of the first gun safety laws in the state’s history, aimed at keeping Vermont children, communities, and survivors of abuse safe. Becca also worked tirelessly in the state senate to secure the largest housing investment in Vermont in decades to rebuild housing stock and expand middle income housing.
This Congress, Becca will serve as Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chair for New Members and as a Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.
She received her BA from Smith College in Northampton, MA, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Becca earned her masters in education from Harvard University in 1995 and her MA in history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2001.
She is married to noted attorney and opera singer, Elizabeth Wohl. Together, they have two children – Abe, 15, and Sarah, 12 – and an adorable dog named Wheelie. They live in Brattleboro, Vermont.
About Rep Becca
BECCA HAS SPENT HER LIFE FIGHTING FOR PEOPLE ON THE MARGINS. VERMONTERS TRUST HER TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS.
Becca Balint is a mom, teacher and progressive leader who has had to fight her whole life as an outsider. Growing up gay, and the granddaughter of a man killed in the Holocaust, Becca developed early on a deep sense of empathy for people on the margins. She started looking out for every single kid on the playground, especially the ones other kids made fun of.
That innate sense of justice has driven Becca her entire life – first as an educator who taught middle school in Windham County for fourteen years, then as an activist and State Senator who became the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as President Pro Tempore in the Vermont State Senate.
In the State Senate, Becca’s work wasn’t easy; getting dozens of politicians to agree on anything often felt like herding cats. But Becca’s leadership has delivered historic wins for people in Vermont, and helped make our state what it is today. She has led passage of paid family leave through the State Senate, a minimum wage increase for thousands of workers in Vermont, the boldest climate bill our state’s ever passed, and the most progressive reproductive freedom legislation in America. Every day since her first election in 2014, Becca Balint has worked to make life better for every single Vermonters, especially those on the margins.
Becca knows what can happen if we turn away from each other.
Becca is a fierce advocate for justice and equity, and her values were shaped by her family’s experiences. Born in Germany in a U.S. Army hospital, she grew up in upstate New York with her family and two siblings. She is the daughter of an immigrant dad and a working-class mom, and her parents never took for granted the rights and privileges provided by the U.S. Constitution. Her grandfather was killed in the Holocaust, and her father’s family saw firsthand the cruelties people can perpetrate when the law does not protect the most vulnerable, or when people turn away from each other and refuse to confront burgeoning division in their communities. Becca made the choice to always lead with compassion, kindness, and with a deep commitment to alleviating suffering.
At her core, Becca is a middle school teacher.
Becca first came to Vermont in 1994 when she took a job as a rock-climbing instructor; she settled here permanently in 1997. Three years later, she met her future wife, Elizabeth and made their home in Windham County. Becca continued her career as an educator and became a middle school teacher, teaching in four rural public schools. Becca used her love of learning—and inquiry, study, adventure, and trust—to educate hundreds of young people and adults. She brought those same qualities to her work with and for the people she represents in the legislature.
Leading with Courage and Kindness.
Now, she’s running for U.S. Congress because she knows that she has the experience, the record, the courage, and the ability to bring people together needed to take on the immense challenges we face as a state and as a nation.
The crises barreling down on our state – from climate change to housing affordability to medical debt to economic inequality – they demand courageous national leadership, and they can’t be solved without it. Becca knows what kind of Member of Congress she wants to be: one driven by values, integrity and conviction, not corporate PAC’s or political calculation. She knows Vermont has long been a place that moves the rest of the country to think differently, to imagine a better future and a brighter world. That’s what moved Becca to join this race, and it’s why she will be an outstanding U.S. Representative.
Becca has earned degrees from Smith College, the School of Education at Harvard, and, after teaching social studies for several years, an M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts. She is happily married to noted attorney and opera singer, Elizabeth Wohl. Together, they have two children– Abe, 14, and Sarah, 11– and an adorable but incorrigible dog named Wheelie. They live in Brattleboro, Vermont.
What Sets Becca Apart?
Becca knows how critically important it is to stand up for people’s rights and has a record of fighting for Vermonters rights and winning. As leader of the Senate, she passed the strongest reproductive rights law in the nation, secured major wins for Labor, passed the first gun safety legislation in Vermont history and made the biggest investment in affordable housing in a generation.
At a time when our fundamental rights are being taken away, Vermonters need someone they can trust to fight for them in Washington. You don’t have to just take Becca’s word for it that she will fight for Vermonters, she has the record to prove it.
The fight for democracy isn’t theoretical for Becca. Her grandfather was murdered in the Holocaust. Becca believes that even in the face of immense challenge, we cannot back away from fighting for each other and building connections across difference. That is how we will save our democracy, and Becca knows that the first step in fighting for change is showing up and voting. Becca voted in every election since she turned 18. In Vermont, a public servant’s commitment to civic engagement is paramount and Becca is proud to be the person in this race that has always taken that seriously.
PANDEMIC RECOVERY AND PREVENTION
In times of crisis, Vermonters take care of each other. When the coronavirus began to impact Vermont, Becca acted as the Senate President to keep our legislature running smoothly: passing state budgets, allocating coronavirus relief dollars, and ensuring Vermonters were heard in the process. This approach to governance – giving Vermonters a direct voice in how their government works for them – is exactly how Becca will serve Vermont in Congress.
Becca helped allocate nearly $1 billion dollars in relief funds to workers, families, and small businesses most in need. From investments in hazard pay for frontline workers, to stabilizing our childcare and healthcare systems, to investing in our farms and farmers, she delivered for Vermonters.
But there’s still work to be done. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the countless ways our systems work for the wealthiest and most connected, and leave the rest of us behind. We need a recovery that promotes Vermont’s resilience and economic, social, and racial justice. That starts with investing in communities, pandemic and crisis preparedness, and our democracy.
PREVENTING THE NEXT PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused irreparable loss. In our recovery, it’s critical that we prepare for the future. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to ensure this tragic loss of life never occurs again. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of American life – from the economy to education to the tragedy of nearly 1 million deaths. The U.S. Government has the ability and an obligation to not only end the COVID-19 pandemic, but to do everything we can do to prevent the disruption, economic damage, and suffering caused by a future pandemic.
When the H1N1 health emergency hit we were able to tap into the national stockpile but because of short sightedness we didn’t fill the stockpile back up. There is no question lives were lost in COVID because of this. We cannot allow that to happen again.
We must refill the stockpile of PPE, tests, and masks and expand it for the next pandemic. That requires a federal level response and investment.
We must maintain and improve systems to safely and swiftly approve, manufacture, and administer vaccines; distribute life-saving supplies like masks; and develop reliable tests for pathogens that are ready for scaling.
We must invest in research and sufficiently fund the National Institute for Health.
Establish independent oversight of labs conducting dual-use research of concern. We must create a system of enforcement when noncompliance with safety and security protocols occurs. The review of this work should be controlled by an independent committee concerned with preventing the next pandemic, rather than by the same groups funding this critical research.
Becca will advocate for investments in preventing the next pandemic and ensuring that Vermonters are not only prepared, but protected from this kind of crisis.
MEDICARE FOR ALL
As the COVID-19 pandemic has painfully shown us, tying insurance to a place of employment is dangerous. Access to healthcare should be based on need, not on your job or ability to pay.
That’s why, in Congress, Becca will champion a national single-payer healthcare system like Medicare for All. Medicare for All will make healthcare simpler and cheaper: no premiums, no co-pays, and no networks. No more payments for a bloated insurance bureaucracy instead of vital medical care. Most importantly, with guaranteed dental, vision, and hearing services, Medicare for All will provide the care Vermonters deserve.
While Medicare for All is the top priority, we can make change even before it gets passed. We need to increase Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, cap and control prescription drug prices, and shift our reimbursement model away from a fee for service model. It’s past time to stop incentivizing hospital usage regardless of need and move to a wellness model that will reimburse hospitals for keeping people healthy.
Our society often perpetuates the harmful stereotype that our leaders should be invulnerable, but Becca firmly believes that struggling with mental health doesn’t make you weak – it makes you human. For decades, Becca has spoken openly about her experiences with anxiety and depression in an effort to destigmatize neurodiversity.
The pandemic has brought about a new wave of mental health challenges. Economic downturns, the loss of human connection, and isolation have all contributed to a sky-rocketing number of people struggling. About 4 in 10 adults in the United States have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from one in ten adults before the pandemic began.
Now more than ever, we need elected officials who are willing to lead tough conversations about topics like mental health, and do everything in their power to ensure equitable access to mental health care. In Congress, Becca will fight not only for Medicare for All – and mental health care for all.
Since January 1, for-profit drug companies have raised prices on over 450 prescription drugs. From seniors forced to spend hard-earned Social Security dollars on insulin, to single moms struggling to cover the cost of their child’s inhaler, Big Pharma’s greed has consequences for all Americans.
In the richest country in the world, no one should go broke paying for life-saving medications.
As a Vermont legislator, Becca passed bills to stop Big Pharma’s price gouging – but we can’t solve this alone at the state level. That’s why in Congress, Becca will fight to cap the price of insulin at $35 and allow Medicare to negotiate fair prices for all of your prescription medications.
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Most Vermonters know someone who has suffered from substance use disorder. Not a single community in Vermont has escaped the scourge of the opioid epidemic.
And this crisis is far from over, with the COVID-19 pandemic driving an increase in opioid-related deaths.
Becca knows incarceration is not the path forward - treatment is. As Senate Majority Leader, Becca passed a bill to better regulate the prescription of opioids for chronic pain. Vermont now requires prescribers to monitor their own prescribing patterns, as well as those of other prescribers caring for the same patient, to prevent unintentional over-prescription.
In Congress, Becca will support increased access to Medically Assisted Treatment, supervised injection sites, and evidence-based practices to prevent and treat substance use disorder. With many health insurance plans still barring access to treatment, Becca will advocate for healthcare that’s based on need, not one’s job or ability to pay.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
As a middle school teacher and mother of two, the issue of gun violence is personal for Becca. Becca is deeply committed to policies that reduce gun violence because keeping Vermont children and families safe has to be our highest priority.
While Majority Leader, Becca proudly helped pass the first gun safety laws in Vermont’s history: a series of bills aimed at keeping Vermont children, communities, and survivors of abuse safe. But this fight isn’t over.
Common-sense gun reform is popular in Vermont and across the country, but the powerful gun lobby has stopped these reforms in their tracks.
In D.C., Becca will stand up to the gun lobby and advocate for gun safety measures including expanding background checks, investing in gun violence research and prevention programs, and Extreme Risk laws. Becca believes it’s time to re-instate the assault weapons ban. There is no reason for weapons of war to be in our communities.
There is so much more we can do. Here is a Gun Sense Voter Action Plan for folks to get involved and take action.
Becca supports action on this issue on a personal, local and federal level:
Each of us can take steps in our own homes to make sure that firearms are stored safely and securely away from kids.
Non-firearm owners need heightened awareness of guns in other people’s homes. If you’re a parent, there’s a 1 in 3 chance your kid is going to a friend’s house with firearms. Just as you’d ask about pets, allergies, and supervision before your child visits another home, ask one more important question: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?”
We need to ensure that there are safe and supportive systems in schools and communities to report potential safety concerns. If families or teachers are concerned about a student, we need to have crisis response teams that are trained to support that child and get them the services they need. This is also where red flag laws, or extreme risk protection orders, can provide extra protection and support.
Firearm retailers can also help change cultural norms around safe, responsible firearm storage, identify signs of crisis, and disseminate information about suicide prevention.
There is no question that the federal government has failed to act and that there is so much more that needs to be done.
It is time to ban assault weapons, pass universal background checks, and close the Charleston Loophole.
We need safe storage laws and ensure that kids 18 and younger cannot purchase a firearm either in person or on the internet.
When Becca was teaching at rural public schools in Windham County, she saw that when kids didn’t have safe and stable housing, it impacted their learning, their physical and mental health, and their ability to be successful. Housing is fundamental to giving kids a strong start.
We have a housing crisis in Vermont. Over the past year alone, housing prices have grown by almost 19% in Vermont, creating insurmountable roadblocks for families trying to buy homes. So many of the people who live, work, and power our state are simply being priced out.
As a state senator, Becca led the charge on the largest housing investments Vermont has seen in decades: $37 million housing bond, $250 million in middle-income housing, expanding Vermont’s housing stock, and more.
Whether it’s our workforce challenges, income disparities, ongoing mental health crises, houselessness, or our acute struggles with the opioid epidemic, housing is a key component to the solution.
In Congress, Becca will fight for comprehensive support for housing, including building new housing, rehabilitating old housing stock, and significant rental support. The U.S. House recently passed $170 billion in housing assistance. This is a vital first step, but there’s still work to be done. Becca will support continued efforts to support the expansion of housing in Vermont and around the country.
PAID FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE
When dealing with a serious illness or welcoming a new child, we shouldn’t have to worry about losing pay or losing a job. We need a paid family and medical leave program that meets the needs of working families.
This issue is personal for Becca. After a difficult pregnancy and delivery of her first child, she and her spouse got critical support from paid family leave.
As Majority Leader, Becca helped pass a paid family and medical leave bill to ensure that no Vermonter loses their job or savings in order to bond with a new child, care for a loved one, or deal with a personal illness. Unfortunately, Governor Scott vetoed this bill.
In Congress, Becca will fight for a robust, permanent national paid family and medical leave program - for our workers, our small businesses, and our communities.
As a working mom, Becca knows the need for high quality, affordable child care that allows parents to make ends meet. And as a teacher, she knows the importance of ensuring early educators are not left out of the conversation. A child care system that works for both parents and educators is possible.
That’s why, as a Vermont Senator, Becca advocated for a $7 million investment that helped 2,000 Vermont families get child care. In Congress, she will support Elizabeth Warren and Mondaire Jones’ Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act. This must-pass bill would ensure universal access to child care and guarantee affordability while investing in early educators.
To give Vermont’s children and families a strong start, we need to get this done.
As a former public school teacher and mother, Becca knows first-hand the importance of providing every Vermont child with the quality education they deserve.
Vermont has the most progressive education funding system in the country, but we still see Vermonters struggling to pay for underfunded schools. Improving our public schools shouldn’t mean burdening Vermonter’s with property taxes they can’t afford. Becca supports shifting towards a fairer system of funding schools based on income, so the most vulnerable Vermonters aren’t priced out of the best schools.
We ask our schools to do a lot for us. The pandemic has further exposed our reliance on schools to “fix” too many of our societal problems. Schools can collaborate with critical parts of state government, medical providers, and designated agencies to help students access the services they need, but we must commit to robustly funding and staffing social service programs so that teachers can focus on teaching.
Becca knows that students cannot show up to school ready to learn if their basic needs aren’t met. That’s why, in D.C., Becca will advocate for increased investment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school meals; Children’s Integrated Services; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); safe, affordable housing for children and families; and more.
AGE WITH DIGNITY
Two-thirds of Vermont residents are middle-aged or older, but our state doesn’t have adequate systems in place to support them in aging with dignity. Everyone, including older Vermonters, deserves the chance to lead healthy, independent lives.
As Senate President, Becca supported the Older Vermonters Act, which established in law Vermont’s commitment to a coordinated system of services and supports for older Vermonters. Moving forward, we must invest in programs like Support and Services at Home (SASH), which provides older Vermonters with health and welfare checks, support navigating long-term care options, and more.
In Congress, Becca will advocate for increased funding for the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program and community-based hunger alleviation programs; high-quality case management; safe, affordable housing where people can age in place; broad healthcare reform; and other services to meet the needs of older Vermonters.
PRESERVING OUR DEMOCRACY
One of our most sacred rights in this country is the right to vote. Throughout our nation’s history citizens have fought and even died to gain equal access to the ballot box to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, many Republican-controlled legislatures have been passing laws that make it harder for people to vote, particularly people of color.
Becca knows from her own family history, with a grandfather who was killed in the Holocaust, how dangerous it is when we let fear divide us and turn away from democracy.
As a Senator, Becca has supported expanding access to the ballot box, including passing universal mail-in ballots last year. But this is not the case in much of the country. We need leaders who bring our shared values to Washington, who know that democracy is a positive-sum game. When we make voting more accessible, the government better reflects the will of the people.
Voter suppression laws have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and folks with disabilities. We must ensure everyone, regardless of skin color, disability, or political affiliation has access to the ballot box.
In Congress, Becca will be a strong advocate for the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and other legislation to make voting more accessible for all.
With the Court’s willingness to overturn the Roe precedent, the future of other essential rights is at risk – gay marriage, access to contraception, interracial marriage. Becca believes it is time for a real and serious conversation about reforming the Supreme Court, including term limits and expanding the court.
After 400 years of racial injustice in this country, inequality permeates American life. Whether we are looking at housing, healthcare, the climate crisis, or the criminal legal system, we need to do so through the lens of racial justice.
Becca knows we have a lot of work to do right here in Vermont, where rates of incarceration are highly disproportionate for Black Vermonters and evidence shows considerable disparities in drug sentencing between white and Black defendants. We also see higher rates of suspensions and expulsions for students of color than we do for white students.
Becca is deeply committed to advancing racial justice, and is proud to have worked with advocates in Vermont who are leading the cause. As a state senator, Becca partnered with affected community members to bring the first-ever anti-bias trainings to the Vermont legislature.
In D.C., Becca will continue to work hand in hand with advocates and impacted communities to dismantle institutional racism. Among other efforts, Becca strongly supports the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. She also supports canceling student debt, which would be one of the most effective ways to close the racial wealth gap, as Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than White college graduates.
PUBLIC SAFETY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
ADDRESSING RACIAL DISPARITIES IN THE CRIMINAL LEGAL SYSTEM: Vermont is not immune from systemic racism - in fact, Vermont has one of the highest rates of incarceration for Black people in the country. We must continue to do all we can to build a criminal legal system that promotes the safety of all Vermonters.
Becca is proud to serve on Vermont’s State Police Fair and Impartial Policing Committee, a group of advocates, legislators, law enforcement, and community members working together to address bias in policing. In 2020, Becca supported a package of criminal justice reform bills that banned chokeholds, required police to wear body cameras, created new standards for hiring and training, and addressed police use of force.
But there is still work to be done, in Vermont and across the nation. If elected, Becca will support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which will help prevent and remedy racial profiling, increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, enhance transparency, and establish police training requirements, among other critical reforms.
ENDING QUALIFIED IMMUNITY: No one is above the law. People, especially Black and Brown Vermonters, need to know they can use the legal system to hold officers responsible when their constitutional rights are violated. That’s why, as Senate President Pro Tem, Becca cosponsored a bill to end blanket qualified immunity in Vermont.
Qualified immunity not only makes it too hard for citizens to seek accountability when their civil rights are violated, it also damages the trust between law enforcement departments and the communities they serve. We need to do better.
RESPONDING TO COMMUNITY NEEDS: When it comes to public safety, the first and last question we need to ask is: what actually keeps people safe? Police officers have become the social workers of last resort across the country and here in Vermont. As many police officers themselves have said, to keep Vermonters safe, we need to invest in unarmed first responders who are best suited to address the underlying needs of individuals in crisis - mental health, poverty, and substance use disorder.
Deciding whether and when to have a child is deeply personal - and should be in the hands of pregnant people, not politicians. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was cruel, dehumanizing, and dangerous. It does not reflect the will of the majority of Americans who deeply value maintaining control of their bodies, their lives, and their futures. Congress has failed to codify reproductive rights, and an extremist conservative Supreme Court is using their power to override the will of the people.
Abortion is still legal in Vermont. As Senate Majority Leader, Becca worked closely with her colleagues to pass some of the strongest reproductive rights protections in the nation. This includes Proposal 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, which would make Vermont the first state in the nation to explicitly protect reproductive freedom in its constitution. Becca is a tested reproductive rights champion who will fight to codify in federal law the right to abortion care.
We need to change the system so Americans aren’t subject to tyranny by the minority. This means abolishing the Senate filibuster, a serious conversation about reforming the Supreme Court, and ensuring that the majority of Americans who support abortion care can freely and fairly express their voice in the ballot box.
But simply fighting for rights is not enough; all Americans need guaranteed access to reproductive health care services. Becca will advocate for fully funding Planned Parenthood and Title X and repealing the Hyde Amendment, so all Americans can access the family services they need regardless of income.
As the first openly gay person to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Vermont State Senate, an innate sense of justice has driven Becca her entire life.
While in the Senate, Becca helped protect LGBTQ+ youth by banning “conversion therapy” and advocating for the gender-inclusive bathroom bill on the Senate floor. That’s why she’s earned endorsements from leading LGBTQ+ advocates LPAC, Victory Fund, and Equality PAC.
Nearly half of U.S. states lack basic protections for LGBTQ+ people, meaning they can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or denied credit because of their gender or sexual orientation.
Becca has been a champion for LGBTQ+ people in Vermont, but there’s so much more to do. In D.C., Becca would support the Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights law to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, jury service, and federally funded programs.
As a former middle school teacher, Becca knows that education can be a key to financial freedom and economic equity. But right now, 43 million Americans are burdened by student debt, including 8.7 million Americans over 50 years old.
Canceling student debt will be a top priority for Becca in D.C. The recent delays on loan repayments are welcome, but arbitrary delays without any guarantee they will continue are making it impossible for people to plan for the future. We need to cancel the debt, period.
Canceling student debt is an important way to close the racial wealth gap, as Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than white college graduates.
But this is only the first step: we need to make college, and all post-high school education, affordable for everyone. Previous generations had the opportunity to get a good education without being saddled by debt they have to live with for much of their lives. That is no longer true. Since 1980, the average cost of college has gone up by 169%, while the average earnings for young people has gone up only 19%.
This is an affordability crisis, and it is stifling economic opportunity for an entire generation of Americans. We must have universally affordable college and post-high school education available to all Americans. The country will be better off when everyone can get a great education that they can afford.
There’s no place in the world that values the outdoors and protection of our natural resources like the Green Mountain State. But we must act to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same beautiful Vermont we call home today.
That’s why Becca worked closely with the co-chairs of the Climate Solutions Caucus on the Global Warming Solutions Act, and led a veto override to pass the bill into law. When implemented, it will cut carbon pollution, advance healthy and resilient communities, and help rebuild our economy.
Climate action in Vermont must build on our strengths, which means transforming our economy into a climate economy. But while Vermont has led the way with electric vehicles, adopting renewable energy, and land preservation, we can’t attack the impending climate crisis with a piecemeal approach. We need a united, 50-state solution to fighting the climate crisis – and that’s what the Green New Deal will give us.
In Congress, Becca will support a Green New Deal to provide Vermont with the funding we need to create and sustain good-paying green jobs, combat the climate crisis, fight environmental injustice, and transition our state and our country to a clean energy economy.
As a former union member, Becca personally knows the power and importance of organized labor. When she was a middle-school teacher in rural Vermont, Becca was a member of the National Education Association, which gave educators the collective power to negotiate for fair pay and high-quality benefits, such as health insurance, retirement, and paid sick leave.
No one should have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Unions built the middle class, and now it’s time we supported unions so we can rebuild it. Unfortunately, decades of conservative attacks have eroded the ability of American unions to protect and help workers.
If elected, Becca would proudly support the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would restore workers’ rights to form a union and freely bargain. To build an economy that puts working families first, every worker must have access to a union.
INFRASTRUCTURE & BROADBAND
As a former public school teacher in four rural schools, Becca knows the burdens placed on Vermonters by long commute times, crumbling roads, and inadequate internet access.
Nearly 15% of Vermonters live in an area without access to high-speed broadband - and for many more, high costs keep it out of reach. Vermonters who take public transportation spend an extra 40.2% of their time commuting, with Vermonters of color disproportionately impacted.
To make up for decades of underinvestment, we must prioritize rebuilding our infrastructure to meet the needs of our workforce and families.
In Congress, Becca will advocate for significant investments to bring Vermont’s infrastructure into the 21st century: repairing our roads and bridges; delivering high-speed broadband to every Vermont family; secure cyber infrastructure; building physical infrastructure resilient to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather; and more.
Ninety percent of employers in Vermont have 20 or fewer employees, and these businesses are responsible for a third of all private jobs in the state. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and we must ensure they have the support they need to thrive.
In the Vermont Senate, Becca supported investing in our downtowns and workforce through tax incentives and tax-increment financing programs, better training and talent pipelines, and streamlined processes for registering a new business.
As Senate President, Becca helped allocate nearly $1 billion dollars in COVID-19 relief funds to workers, families, and small businesses most in need. From investments in hazard pay for frontline workers, stabilizing our childcare and healthcare systems, and investing in our farms and farmers, she delivered for Vermonters.
There’s always more work to be done to support our small businesses. If Becca is elected, Vermont’s small businesses will have a new champion in Congress.
Becca believes it is past time for the federal government to follow the lead of Vermont and many other states by legalizing cannabis. It is safer for consumers to purchase cannabis that is sold in a regulated, controlled, and tested manner. A regulated market will be more effective at keeping cannabis out of the hands of young people who face potential health consequences from overconsumption.
Cannabis legalization must be accompanied by measures that right the wrongs of the war on drugs, including expungement for cannabis offenses and funding for communities who have been most adversely impacted by prohibition. The government must work to repair the harm to communities of color and low-income communities in particular.
While cannabis legalization may not happen immediately, Becca supports important interim steps to ensure Vermont’s new cannabis industry can thrive. The SAFE Banking Act will allow Vermont banks to serve cannabis businesses without fear of penalty. This will make everyone involved in the legalized market safer by removing the potentially large amounts of cash that can be present at unbanked businesses. Removing the penalty in the federal tax code that prevents cannabis businesses from deducting business expenses, as all other businesses can, will also help entrepreneurial Vermonters.
Vermont farms are essential to the fabric of our communities, not only as a critical component of our economy and tourism, but for climate resilience and food security. Our Vermont farmers need support to make this industry sustainable. They need the same things that all working families and small businesses need: affordable healthcare, childcare, estate and retirement planning, and access to affordable housing for their workforce. Becca will be an advocate and champion for Vermont farmers in Washington.
Becca has been a housing champion in the Senate, leading the charge on the biggest housing investments in decades. This included financial support for farmworker housing - Becca will work to build on this with additional federal dollars to ensure that the next generation of Vermont farms have the resources they need to continue the critical work they perform.
Migrant farmworkers make up an estimated 73% of agricultural workers in the U.S. today. This workforce is absolutely essential and puts food on the table across America. As Vermont faces a growing workforce shortage, we must also modernize the temporary visa program and establish a pathway to citizenship for long-term undocumented agricultural workers. Becca stands for the rights of all workers to work in a safe, dignified environment and make a livable wage. This includes migrant farm workers who are far too often denied these rights.
The legacy of systemic racism touches all aspects of our economy, including agriculture and land ownership. We will have to move many levers to close the racial wealth gap in this nation and to expand equitable access to land for communities who have lost land and wealth due to hundreds of years of discrimination and systemic racism.
Every 5-7 years, our country reexamines the Farm Bill. 2023 will be a defining year for the future of our Vermont farms. The Farm Bill costs hundreds of billions of dollars, the majority of which benefits big, industrial farms. It not only does not serve Vermont farms, it hardly even recognizes they exist. At this crucial juncture, Becca is ready to fight to ensure the next Farm Bill supports Vermont farms.
We must fight to ensure that this workforce, already on the frontlines of climate change, is equipped with the resources they need to continue to produce nutrient-dense food and steward our land. We know Vermont’s farmers have demonstrated their commitment to change and innovation through their extensive work in improving soil health. Becca will fight, not only to protect Vermont’s farmland as the community resource it is, but to ensure farming is a viable career path for the next generations of farmers.