U.S. House Candidate Forum Addresses Family, Women's Issues

“It was the most thorough and policy-focused forum we have had.” – U.S. House of Representatives candidate describing the June 30th forum on issues of importance to Vermont women and families.

Candidates Becca Balint, Sianay Chase Clifford, Molly Gray, Liam Madden, Louis Meyers, M.D., and Anya Tynio addressed voting access, the overturn of Roe Vs. Wade, economic priorities, paid parental leave, trades and technical education, child poverty, entrepreneurship, and domestic and sexual violence in a virtual evening forum on Thursday, June 30th.

Presented by the League of Women Voters of Vermont, moderated by the executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women, Cary Brown, and captured on video by ORCA Media, this two-hour forum featured candidate questions gathered from event cosponsors: Vermont Works for Women, Women Business Owners Network, the Burlington chapter of Vermont Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Voices for Vermont’s Children, Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women, and the League of Women Voters of Vermont.

VIDEO: U.S. House of Representatives Candidates Forum, presented by League of Women Voters of Vermont

Forum Questions (with timestamp for reference):

(At timestamp 17:46) What will you do to increase access to voting for all eligible voters, particularly those who have been historically disenfranchised?

(At timestamp 31:52) Last Friday the U.S. Supreme Court issued one of it’s most historically significant rulings when it overturned Roe Vs. Wade and removed the right to legal abortion. Please tell us your personal response to this decision and please tell us how you would use the power of the federal office to respond to it.

(At timestamp 47:10) War and the war economy hurts women and children, leaving little money for the things that they need and care about such as health care, food, education, child care, housing, climate change, and more.  As a legislator, how will you work to change our economy to one that works for people and planet and not for the military-industrial complex?

(At timestamp 1 hour:01) The United States remains one of the very few countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave. Vermont has tried for years to establish a state program to provide this leave: every attempt has failed. Similar legislative efforts at the federal level have also failed. What, if anything, would you do in Washington to overcome the obstacles faced in the past, and ensure that all Vermonters have access to paid time off when they become parents? 

(At timestamp 1 hour:14) Many have suggested young Vermonters pursue training through Career and Technical Education programs to address job shortages in the skilled trades. And yet, little attention is being paid to the low enrollment of girls and gender-expansive students in these programs. Vermont’s three-year Career and Technical Education enrollment average of female students in non-traditional programs, such as construction and engineering is only 11.71%. How will you help Vermont better utilize federal funding to address gaps in equity and access?

(At timestamp 1 hour:28) According to the US Census Bureau’s PULSE survey in March, 30% of Vermont households with children were having difficulty paying for usual household expenses. The number of homeless children counted by the annual point in time survey has increased significantly from prior years, and with food and transportation costs rising many families are more economically precarious. So as a member of Congress, what federal policies would you prioritize to bring an end to child poverty and increase family economic security in Vermont and the nation?

(At timestamp 1 hour:42) The number of women owned businesses has grown since the pandemic.  What steps would you take to provide these entrepreneurs the support they need to create and sustain a thriving business?

(At timestamp 1 hour:53) A recent report released by the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence concluded that domestic and sexual violence costs the state of Vermont over $100 million each year. In addition to the economic impact of violence, the human cost, is profound. What do you think ought to be done here in Vermont, and on the federal level to prevent domestic and sexual violence?

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The League of Women Voters sponsors candidate forums to encourage informed and active participation in government. The League does not endorse any political party or candidate for elective office. Questions or comments about the forum can be sent to league@lwvofvt.org.