Vermont Business Magazine US Representative Peter Welch on Monday morning announced he is running for US Senate. Welch called on Vermonters to join him in fighting for a progressive agenda in the Senate. He will run for the seat now held by retiring, eight-term Senator Patrick Leahy, who announced last week that he would not seek another term. The election will be November 2022.
“We are at a pivotal moment,” Welch said. “Vermont families are struggling through multiple crises: a global pandemic, the consequences of climate change, and a racial reckoning generations in the making. The result of this election will determine control of the Senate and with it, what we can accomplish for Vermont families. If Vermonters elect me to the U.S. Senate, I will be ready to fight for progressive change on day one.”
Welch, 74, reaffirmed his focus on ensuring Vermont’s working families have access to childcare and paid family leave, passing a Green New Deal, lowering health care and prescription drug costs, ensuring that women continue to have control over their own health care decisions, and protecting voting rights and our democracy.
“I was there on January 6th when the Capitol was stormed by a violent mob fueled by the former president’s lies. Too many Senate Republicans stood behind him instead of telling the truth: It was an attack on our democracy and an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. Senate Republicans continue to sow division for their own political gain instead of working together to get things done.”
Welch said even in the face of these challenges, he is optimistic. “I've seen Vermonters come together to solve problems. We focus on solutions, not who gets credit. That’s the Vermont way. That’s how I’ve gotten things done as Vermont’s congressman, and how I will get things done if I am elected to the U.S. Senate.”
Welch's announcement now opens up the state's lone seat in the House.
Republican Governor Phil Scott has repeatedly said he would not run for the Senate seat. He is expected to seek reelection, though he has not announced his intentions. No other Republican has expressed interest in running for either congressional post yet.
Speculation on who will run for the coveted congressional seat has focused on three Democratic women: Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint and State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale.
On Monday morning, Ram Hinsdale praised Welch in a statement and said: "With Congressman Welch now making a bid for the Senate seat, I will be deeply exploring a run for Congress to give Vermonters a fighter in Washington. I will continue to prioritize the needs and voices of my fellow Vermonters as I make this decision. Today, I am focused on the rising case count in the pandemic and navigating our path forward for the safety and well-being of all Vermonters."
Welch said will announce campaign events in the coming weeks.
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