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Vermont GOP U.S. House candidates debate

Pat Bradley/WAMC
Vote sign at polling place

Debates are continuing as Vermont’s primary approaches on August 9th. The sole U.S. House seat is drawing a number of candidates from the major parties.

The three GOP hopefuls appeared virtually for the Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS primary debate. None of the three have held elective office and they were asked to describe how their work experience has prepared them to advocate for Vermonters in one of the highest offices in the state.

Rockingham Marine Corps veteran Liam Madden pointed to his leadership of the largest antiwar group of Iraq and Afghan veterans.

“The main reason that I’m running is because I do not believe that the two party system is capable of solving our problems," Madden said. "The two-party system does not represent us. It is driving us apart and we can do so much better.”

Burlington accountant Ericka Redic says Congress does not need more career politicians.

“It’s one of the reasons I am a strong proponent of term limits," Redic said. "I also am a small business owner. I do accounting and small business consulting. I know how to do budgets. You know with a $30 trillion debt and climbing what we really need is someone who represents Vermonters and Americans who thinks about their pocketbook.”

West Charleston resident Anya Tynio noted it’s not a requirement that someone have political experience to run for Congress, but added she does have a political background.

“I am the state committee woman elected by Orleans County to represent the county at the state party level," Tynio said. "I have also sat at the platform committee for the Vermont GOP. In my work profession I have experience with agriculture and most currently in management and I believe that being a leader will come forth in Washington D.C.”

Gun regulations have been a recurring theme in recent debates. Moderator and host Mikaela Lefrak asked the Republican candidates about potential federal gun laws.

“Vermont passed a slate of gun control laws four years ago," Lefrak said. "They included raising the legal age to buy a gun to 21 and banning bump stocks which allows semi-automatic rifles to fire faster. Would you support any similar gun control laws at the federal level? Anya Tynio let’s start with you."

"No I do not support any further gun laws," responded Tynio. "Because we need to look very carefully at the fact that most mass shootings have taken place during a period of time when guns were being restricted from the people.

"I believe some of those Vermont laws are actually unconstitutional," Madden responded. "We’re frustrated with the debate being solely around background checks, which I support, and assault weapons bans because it doesn’t really get to the root of the problem.

"These tragedies are a reminder of the actual human cost of child neglect, of addiction, and broken families," said Redic.

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