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Peter Welch holds virtual kickoff of senatorial campaign

Congressman Peter Welch discusses the Asian American Hate Crimes Act
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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Congressman Peter Welch (file)

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch has officially launched his Senate campaign with a Zoom organizing and fundraising event.

Welch first announced on November 22nd that he would run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retirement of Senator Patrick Leahy, a fellow Democrat.

The kickoff event for the campaign was themed “All Hands on Deck” and featured a number of political and business leaders stepping up to endorse the Democrat.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, the host, began the virtual event saying Vermonters are living through critical moments in the nation’s history.

“We need action now to address the COVID pandemic, the climate crisis and the racial and economic injustices that plague our communities, our policies and our financial, housing, education and legal systems. And we won’t be able to address any of those things if we don’t act now to protect and strengthen our democracy," said George. "We have an opportunity to elect a U.S. Senator who can deliver results on day one and that person is Peter Welch.”

Attendees spoke about their interactions with Congressman Welch and how he has helped them, their business or the state. Among them was Tabitha Moore. The sixth-generation Vermonter is the founding president of the Rutland area branch and former state director of the NAACP. Moore says there is no other candidate with Welch’s level of experience and knowledge and she is particularly impressed with his connection to his constituents.

“As president of the Rutland area branch of the NAACP I was so used to candidates for office or incumbents coming to our meetings during election years pandering or searching for or trying to get the ear of or figure out what BIPOC Vermonters are thinking. But what stood out to me about Peter is that he didn’t do that. In fact he wouldn’t come on election years. He just came! And he would come and he would listen to us." Moore continued, "It was clear to us that his interest in our wellbeing was and still is genuine. He actually knows what we stand for. And he knows what we stand for because he cares enough to learn what we stand for.” 

The campaign brought in one of the most visible politicians in the country to endorse Welch’s campaign for Senate.

“I need somebody in Washington at my side who is going to stand up and fight for all of the things that working families in this country need. So for me it’s personal. I need Peter.”

When Leahy retires, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders will be Vermont’s senior senator. Welch has been in the House since 2007.

“Right now in this very difficult moment in American history we need people who are smart, who are thoughtful, who have experience and who are prepared to stand up and fight for justice. And that is exactly who Peter Welch is. I’m just delighted to be supportive and will do whatever I can to make sure that my partner for Vermont in the United States Senate is Peter Welch.” 

Welch says our democracy is in peril.

“We have enormous challenges. But they can be addressed if we have a Senate that is committed to having the authority of government be working on behalf of everyday people. I am truly excited to be in this battle with each and every one of you. I’ve committed to working as hard as I possibly can to continue doing this work.”

No Republican has announced a campaign for Senate. VTDigger reported on January 11th that former U.S. Attorney for Vermont Christina Nolan is exploring the possibility of running as a Republican and had filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission but was not ready to make a formal announcement.

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