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GOP Vermont Congressional Candidate Miriam Berry Discusses Campaign

Miriam Berry
Miriam Berry for Congress
Miriam Berry

Vermont has one representative in the U.S. House, and the seat is has been held by Democrat Peter Welch since 2007. In the state’s August primary, Republican Miriam Berry won a four-way race to advance to next month’s general election.
Berry grew up in a Democratic family and when she first started voting in her teens supported Democrats.  Berry tells WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley she soon found that her beliefs were more in line with conservative Republican values. Berry says she is undaunted as she challenges a popular long-time incumbent."As I grew and in my adult life saw that just a lot of my values coincided much more with being conservative. And it just seemed to fit more with my way of life. And I think the conservative values offer more for people as far as getting out of dependent states or victim states and achieving things and believing in themselves. And sticking with the Constitution which I think is an amazing document that gives us rights that other countries, people in other countries, only dream of.”

Bradley: “Miriam Berry, you are challenging basically an entrenched incumbent and that can be…”
Berry:  “Yes I am .”
Bradley:  “ …that can be incredibly daunting. In his primary this year Congressman Peter Welch, a Democrat, he blew out his opponent 95 to 5%. And in 2018, he won against three challengers in the general election with nearly 68%. So this is your first run for office. Why did you decide to run for congress with such a challenge in front of you?”
Miriam Berry:  “I've had a political leaning for many years.  It seemed like back in December, January I was thinking maybe this is the year to do this. I'm not daunted because this is such a long shot in a way that, frankly, it would be a God-thing, a miracle, however, people want to describe it. But what is really exciting to me this time around is that there are several people running for the House. And so Vermont people will definitely get a choice from somebody from the Communist Party. We have some independents running. We have a progressive running. We have Mr. Welch running and we have me running. So I think that there is such a beautiful spectrum that people will really be able to choose who they think will best represent them best represent Vermont and best represent the country.”

Pat Bradley:  “What are the key issues that you are advocating for in your campaign and that you would want to push in Congress?”
Republican Miriam Berry:   “Okay. One thing I'd like to do is really look at the budget, look at the overlap of services. For example in 2018 the budget committee identified 92 services for impoverished people that overlap. And I'm concerned that in the cases where there are overlaps of programs that there's a risk the more you do that that the safety net, the holes might get bigger, because somebody might be thinking, oh this other agency is covering that. So I'd like to streamline that. Certainly the division and the violence and the hurt that's been going on especially since COVID that I really like to see, I think I have an ability to to reach across the aisle so to speak, working on reuniting our nation, that the racial divide, that I think we definitely can work on that. When I look at people of color I think we're all made in God's image and every single individual has dignity and beauty, and worth, and I really want to help spread that culture. Other issues certainly COVID we need to get our nation back on its feet again and move forward.”

Bradley:  “There's another issue that I've read that you're actually very close to and that's veterans medical care.”
Berry:  “Yes, indeed, yes. I work with geriatric population. And it's been my privilege, certainly to take care of many people who have had been veterans. And their needs they range quite widely from a lot of physical needs and need for support to less complex things. We have to take care of our veterans and there must be a better way we can improve access for veterans, the ability to pick their own physicians, for example. And also here's another place where there's a safety net but there are holes in the safety net so sometimes some of our precious veterans fall through there. So I really want to look at that and team up with others that feel the same.”

Bradley:  “One of the things that may come up after the election, the possibility that Congress might consider expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court. What do you think about expanding the Supreme Court?”
Miriam Berry:  “I don't see any necessity for that. It's the number of nine Supreme Court justices has been there for quite some time. And was it Roosevelt that had proposed adding more people to it and that fell through. Putting more people on the court won't serve anybody really well.”

Pat Bradley:  “There's also been criticism in Washington that religion is becoming too integrated with Washington politics. What do you think of that?”
Berry:  “Well the Constitution basically says that you cannot use religion as a dipstick either for or against an office. Some people could argue that when somebody has faith as a background, that their judgment and decisions will be based on, hopefully, a certain kind of integrity. And then there are those people who don't believe in a god or a religion that integrity is also important to them. So I think the voters really are the ones that decide, whether it's locally or nationally, each voter has has the choice of am I supporting somebody who has a faith or who doesn't and what does their conduct, what does their character say?”

Bradley:  “You won a four way primary in August? I take it that gives you a lot of confidence going into the Congressional race?”
Republican Miriam Berry:  “I would say yes. Number one it's pretty amazing that there was such a turnout. I believe it might have been record breaking in spite of all the circumstances around us. And I think that we're coming into another record breaking contest. And I'm hoping that people that normally don't think about voting will say okay, well, I have this ballot sitting here on my table let's look at it. Let's look at the issues. And I think this is the year that people, and hopefully the person who might not normally vote, might say you know I'm going to vote this year because here it is. It can't be any easier really. But I would encourage people who have their ballots please send them in relatively soon.”

Miriam Berry is the Republican candidate challenging incumbent Democrat Peter Welch for Vermont’s only U.S. House seat. Independents Peter Becker, Marcia Horne, Shawn Orr, Jerry Trudell and Communist Party candidate Christopher Helali are also running for the seat.