Karine Jean-Pierre
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Lesbian Named Vermont's First Woman Senate President Pro Tempore

Becca Balint

Democrats in Vermont’s Senate have nominated Becca Balint, a lesbian, to be president pro tempore, and she will be the first woman and first member of the LGBTQ+ community to hold that position.

Since Democrats have a majority in the Senate, she is assured of election to the post when the full chamber votes in January, VT Digger reports. Balint has been Senate majority leader since 2017, and with that position and now president pro tempore, she is one of just a handful of out LGBTQ+ people who have been leaders in state legislatures. She was elected this month to her fourth term in the Senate.

The president pro tempore presides over the Senate when the lieutenant governor is unavailable to do so and sets the agenda for the body. Balint will succeed Tim Ashe, who did not seek reelection to the Senate and instead made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor.

“I’m really honored to work on behalf of all of you and all Vermonters,” Balint said after her colleagues nominated her during a virtual meeting Sunday, according to VT Digger. “I’ll work hard, as hard as I can, to build a strong team within the Senate, one that values the skills and the experiences we each bring.”

She is part of an all-woman Senate leadership slate nominated by Democrats. They chose Alison Clarkson as majority leader and Cheryl Hooker as assistant majority leader.

Balint will also serve on the Committee of Committees, which “decides who will chair policy committees for the next two years,” VT Digger notes, along with Molly Gray, who was just elected lieutenant governor, and Sen. Dick Mazza.

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