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First Woman in Vermont Elected to Congress: Last State to Do So

Becca Balint just made history by being Vermont’s first woman to be elected to Congress, which means all 50 states in the U.S. have now sent a woman to represent them in Congress.

Becca Balint is not only a 54-year-old former pro tempore president of the Vermont senate, but she’s also a former middle school teacher, rock-climbing instructor, and current mother.

Motherhood is often seen as a setback for women who want to get involved in politics. It was later in life that she realized, with the help of her partner, that although they have two small kids, it’s never going to be a good time as a mother, so she went for it.

Becca Balint expresses her internal and external struggles in that area: “We, as women, get asked questions when we run for office that men don’t get asked. When I first ran for state senate, the Monday after I announced, there was an anonymous letter in my mailbox, saying: ‘You should not be running for office; you should be home with your kids.’”.

The most groundbreaking thing about her, however, is the fact that she is also the first openly LGBTQ person to represent the state, which is also one of the reasons why she held back from running for office in the first place, the inability to see herself doing it as an openly gay person.

At 17, knowing that she wanted to be involved in politics, her only knowledge of a gay politician was a man named Harvey Milk in San Francisco, who had been assassinated, which limited her hopes and dreams.

“I definitely have heard from a lot of constituents how they’re excited to be sending a woman to Congress for the first time, to be sending an openly gay person. Representation absolutely matters … just being able to picture yourself in that role is important,” said Balint.

Democrat Becca Balint will be taking over the seat of Democrat Peter Welch, who was elected to represent Vermont in the Senate. She was heavily preferred to represent the state over Republican Liam Madden, who followed after her with 175,484 votes with 78,167 votes of his own.

Balint has been getting used to making history and being first-to. She was not only the first openly gay woman to serve in Vermont’s senate but also became the first woman to run it.

“I didn’t have any role models … it was not something that felt possible to me. So I’m creating that sense of possibility for my constituents and their kids and grandkids, and that is so exciting to me,” said Balint

Because of her experience as not only an educator but a mother, one of the biggest issues that she wants to address when in Congress is the mental health crisis in the U.S. and how it is impacting young people, her own experience with anxiety and depression is what drives her to find a solution to this contaminating issue that so many politicians find frivolous.

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