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Vermont state Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale launches bid for Congress

 Kesha Ram Hinsdale (file)
Pat Bradley
Kesha Ram Hinsdale (file)

A third woman has entered the race for Vermont’s at-large U.S. House seat, in what will be her second statewide campaign.

Democratic State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale announced her campaign for Congress Thursday morning.

She calls herself a “practical progressive” who says she would be the state’s fighter for democracy, working families and the climate.

“We know that the right investments help move our state forward from child care to housing to transportation. We get things done that impact the everyday lives of Vermonters. The other reality is that a lot of what the lone Congressman would be doing for Vermonters is family-by-family and business-by-business.” Ram Hinsale continues, “I have a track record of being the casework candidate. The one who will not leave a family behind if they’re dealing with an immigration issue or trying to get a federal loan or trying to open a business. I just will stay with folks and make sure they have what they need. And that’s a lot of what our Congresswoman will need to do.”

Vermont legislators are part-time positions and Senator Ram Hinsdale she says her service in Montpelier in combination with her full-time work experience have reinforced her foundation to seek and serve in higher office.

“I was the Head Start advocate for a local preschool. I was the legal advocacy director for our domestic violence program in Chittenden County. I worked in municipal government. I work now to help school districts and municipalities be more welcoming to immigrants, New Americans and communities that are often left behind,” she said. “And my vision and expertise is sought all over the state not only because of the work I’ve done but being the first woman of color in the state Senate in Vermont gives me a very unique lens on who around the state feels like they’re being left behind. And I use whatever position I’ve had to try and bring more people to the table and create space for more voices.”

Hinsdale says many people encouraged her to run for Congress, and having lost a bid for lieutenant governor in 2016, is confident in the challenge.

“The reality is we’re in the midst of a pandemic and still have uncertainty in the economy, have uncertainty about the entire future of our democracy and climate. That is daunting.” Kesha Ram Hinsdale is optimistic. “But nothing is impossible when we work together and that’s how I operate. So I am essentially undaunted and we’re already seeing grassroots support pouring in from across the state.”

Vermont has never sent a woman or person of color to Congress.

So far, Kesha Ram Hinsdale faces current Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray and Senate Pro Tem Becca Ballint in the Democratic primary for U.S. House.

Democratic Congressman Peter Welch, in office since 2007, is running to succeed Democratic U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who is retiring after eight terms.

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