Vermont Business Magazine Today, State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) announced her candidacy for Vermont’s open At-Large Congressional Seat. The seat is currently held by Democrat Peter Welch, who previously announced he would run for retiring Patrick Leahy's US Senate seat. Ram Hinsdale will face at least Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray and Senate President Becca Balint from Windham County. They also are Democrats who announced they would run for Congress.
“I’m running for Congress to be Vermont’s fighter for working families, our democracy, and our climate,” said Ram Hinsdale in a campaign statement Thursday. “I will bring the Vermont Way to Washington, uplifting the voices of the people above corporate interests and right wing extremists who are threatening our health, our planet, and our fundamental rights. Now is the time to dream and deliver, to advance a bold vision for our multicultural democracy while building a responsive government that meets the everyday needs of Vermonters.”
Within eight hours after launching the campaign Thursday morning, Ram Hinsdale's Congressional campaign had raised $129,602, with contributions from all of Vermont's 14 counties.
Ram Hinsdale said, "I am touched by the nurses, teachers, and small business owners from every corner of the state who have dug deep to support our campaign. Before I launched my campaign, I took the time to have conversations and to listen to working families. Overwhelmingly, I heard that Vermonters are hungry for bold, compassionate, experienced leadership. This outpouring of support means the world to me."
Ram Hinsdale's campaign is not accepting corporate PAC money.
Vermonters from across the state voiced their support for Ram Hinsdale.
Bill McKibben, writer and founder of 350.org, remarked, "Kesha has proven her skill as a legislator, and her smart commitment on the key issues of our time. In a moment when Washington is paralyzed and divided, and when the world is overheating, Vermont can do a great service by sending a leader like her off to represent our values and our common sense."
Jen Ellis, the Essex teacher who handmade US Senator Bernie Sanders’ now famous Inauguration Day mittens, said, “I support Kesha Ram Hinsdale because she is willing to stand up for what is right, both in public and behind closed doors. She is not a performative ally - she is an actual ally – to teachers, state employees, the trans community, the queer community, the BIPOC community, the indigenous, you name it. She always shows up for the people of Vermont, and I can’t think of a better Vermonter to send to Washington to represent Vermont in Congress.”
"Kesha is always hard at work because she knows that Vermonters always need someone to listen, to defend, to champion, to inspire, to advocate, and, of course, to lead. When my family and I were the targets of some pretty awful racism, Kesha was the first one in line, ready to pack boxes, help me raise money for a new home, and even move,” said Tabitha Moore, Community Advocate and Founding President of the Rutland Area NAACP.
Sam Hooper, Owner and President of Vermont Glove said, “Kesha grew up in a family business and married into a multi-generational family business. When the going gets hard, she sticks it out. I know that's who I want representing us in Washington, and I know that's the type of person Kesha is.”
“Kesha not only makes history by being the first, and sometimes only, but she also makes sure that she is not the last. Her leadership is built on collaboration and community, and she never gives up on the fight for a more just future for all of us,” remarked State Representative Taylor Small (P/D - Chittenden 6-7).
State Representative Caleb Elder (D - Addison-4) said, “Kesha has invested in Vermont, leading on progressive policy ideals for a decade in the legislature, while lifting up other young people along her way. Now is our opportunity to lift Kesha up, and for Vermont to show a new face to our country and the world.”
Ram Hinsdale’s legislative track record, particularly on environmental justice, positions her to be a champion for a progressive agenda in Congress.
“Before the Green New Deal had a name, I wrote a bill tying economic and racial justice to environmental justice in 2007, which I worked to introduce to the Legislature. Some were skeptical that a coalition could be built to actually make progress on this issue, but fifteen years later, we now have a strong enough coalition for this bill to be passed.”
“I have fought the uphill battles to build coalitions for progressive policy. It’s not enough for elected officials to just attach their name to the Green New Deal or Medicare for All. For the young Vermonters who are wondering if their planet will stay habitable and for the Vermonters too poor to go to the doctor, Vermont needs to send someone to Congress with a track record of not backing down from tough fights.”
Upon election to Congress, Ram Hinsdale would be making history as Vermont’s first person of color and first woman elected to Vermont’s federal delegation. She would also be the first Jewish person of color elected to Congress. Ram Hinsdale is no stranger to making history. In 2020, she was the first woman of color ever elected to the State Senate. Her election to the State House in 2008, focused on an agenda of climate advocacy, led to her becoming the youngest legislator in the country at the time.
While Ram Hinsdale acknowledges the history-making aspect of her candidacy, she remains laser-focused on the larger fight.
“I grew up in a working-class, multiracial family, and we experienced economic insecurity when the family business went under. That’s why the fight for the dignity of working people is deeply personal to me.”
“I know the America that exists when you pull on your bootstraps until they come off. I also saw the America that opens the door a crack and lets the light in just long enough for you to glimpse opportunity and keep pushing forward. I am running because the stakes are too high for all of us, but especially the most vulnerable among us, to settle for politics as usual.”
Kesha Ram Hinsdale is running for Congress to be Vermont’s fighter in Congress. Born and raised in a working-class, multiracial family, Kesha has spent her decade-long tenure in the Vermont Legislature fighting for the dignity of working Vermonters. Upon election to the State House in 2008, she became the youngest state legislator in the country, and she made history in 2020 as the first woman of color elected to Vermont’s State Senate. Ram Hinsdale has an established track record as a leader in the Legislature on environmental, economic and racial justice, and she will bring this leadership to Washington as Vermont’s first Congresswoman.