VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
VPR News
Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Time To Vote 2018: Here Are Vermont's Candidates For U.S. House Representative

A yellow overlay over a roll of I Voted stickers with American flags and the words: Congress Counts Know Your Candidates
Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File
/

In the 2018 election, four people are looking to go to the U.S. House of Representatives on Vermont’s behalf. (We can only send one.)

Time To Vote 2018 — Attorney General | Auditor | Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Secretary of State | TreasurerU.S. Senate

What does the representative do?  

Also referred to as a congressperson, Vermont's single member of the U.S. House of Representatives is elected to a two-year term to serve the people of Vermont's congressional district.

Among other duties, representatives introduce bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees. The U.S. House is also where impeachment proceedings originate.

Who's running to be Vermont's representative to the U.S. House?

There are four candidates for representative to Congress on Vermont's ballot in this general election:

  • Cris Ericson (independent)
  • Laura S. Potter (Liberty Union)
  • Anya Tynio (Republican)
  • Peter Welch (Democrat)

Scroll to learn more about the candidates.

A thin grey line.

A yellow overlay over a roll of I Voted stickers with American flags and the name Cris Ericson.
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Independent candidate
  • Also is a gubernatorial candidate in this election; since 2002, has run multiple times for governor, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House; has not held elected statewide office in Vermont
  • Town of residence: Chester
  • Website

Ericson declined a pre-recorded interview with VPR.

A thin grey line.

A yellow overlay over a roll of I Voted stickers with American flags and the name Laura S. Potter
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Liberty Union candidate
  • First time seeking stated elected office in Vermont
  • Town of residence: Charleston
  • Website

On immigration:

“So much of the U.S. is based on immigration," Potter said. "I mean, you look at it again and again — it’s the people who believed the American dream. They came here for a better life. They put the work into it."

Potter noted some of the reasons people immigrate to the U.S. — including to escape war and natural disasters — and she said that while the Trump administration wants to reduce the number of people who can legally immigrate here, it's actually "something that we should be asking for."

She also said "there are reforms necessary to make it smoother," specifically in determining if an individual may pose a danger.

On President Donald Trump:

Potter said that Trump is "not a fit" for the office, and that she would support an effort in the U.S. House to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.

"I believe that the people who are going to be at the highest levels of our government like that, they need to be exemplary, not the worst of," Potter said, who also cited the allegations of sexual harassment and assault that have been made against the president.

On health care:

“I believe in a universal health care," Potter said. "I don’t know if Medicare as it stands now would be a good base for it. But at this point, it’s better than nothing.”

And a little more:

"It appears to me that the right and the center, they’re getting all the play," Potter said of her candidacy. "And those of us who are more on the left are trying to point out, ‘look there are other alternatives, there are other options.’"

Potter said it's about "getting the ideas out there" and educating people, especially to combat what she sees as misconceptions about socialism.

"I am for a democratically-run socialist political system, so we would still have the votes but things would bubble down to the people, and you know, we the great masses of people would be making the decisions," Potter said. "And the people sitting up there would be truly representative."

Want to hear more from Laura S. Potter? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

A yellow overlay over a roll of I Voted stickers with American flags and the name Anya Tynio
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

On immigration:

"We do need to welcome citizens from other countries to become productive citizens here and to be productive members of our society," Tynio said. She said the U.S. needs to "streamline our process to citizenship," which she said would help curb illegal immigration.

"We have to know who is in our country. We have to have a strong stance on this and strong laws against it," Tynio said. "And we cannot allow what has been going on to continue."

She said she supports the proposed border wall, as well as stronger immigration laws. She also said next steps need to be figured out for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients — President Trump announced an end to the Obama adminstration program last year, and Tynio said that in the wake of the policy change, DACA recipients should have immediately started to pursue a path to citizenship.

On President Donald Trump:

Tynio said that the president has followed through on campaign promises and proved his loyalty to his supporters. As far as polarization in politics, "the rhetoric and the divisiveness started long before President Trump," she said.

Tynio said the Trump presidency has been good for the United States and that he's putting the U.S. on a path to stronger trade relationships with other countries and an improved economy.

"As a woman, I've never been offended by President Trump's language," Tynio also said.

On health care:

Tynio said there needs to be competition within the health care market: "If they are doing Medicare for All, the hospital has no way of recouping any additional revenue that is going to help them maintain staying open, hiring doctors, hiring staff."

In order for the government to pay everyone's coverage costs under a Medicare for All system, Tynio said, it would ultimately mean people have to pay more in taxes to the government.

She said preventative care is a piece of keeping costs down, but "it is not the answer" for larger health problems and that we should instead be focused on figuring out the root causes for health issues facing the U.S.

And a little more:

Tynio said Welch is "out of touch with the everyday Vermonter." She said an example of this was Welch voting against the Farm Bill earlier this year.

"I disagree that stalling at the last minute was the best way to help the Vermont dairy industry," she said. "Government subsidizing of farming is not the direction that we want to go with agriculture. ...  That part of it, I can understand he may have been thinking that. It is not detrimental to have a milk protection in place for when the cost of production skyrockets and the cost of the product drops."

Having that reform to milk production is something Tynio said she'd want in a finalized Farm Bill, in an effort to prevent farmers from going out of business.

Want to hear more from Anya Tynio? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

A yellow overlay over a roll of I Voted stickers with American flags and the name Peter Welch
Credit Photo: Angela Evancie / VPR File

  • Democratic candidate
  • Incumbent, seeking seventh term; previously served in the Vermont Senate
  • Town of residence: Norwich
  • Website

On immigration:

Welch voiced his support for a bipartisan Senate bill from 2013 that addressed border security and a way for people to gain citizenship.

"The frustration I've had is that we have been denied an opportunity to even vote on [an] immigration bill, a comprehensive immigration bill, in the House," Welch continued.

Philosophically, Welch said we should be a country that welcomes immigration, with secure — but not closed — borders. He also said he is concerned about the administration's current limits on asylum seekers.

On President Donald Trump:

Welch said he is "alarmed" by behavior he's observed by the president — behavior, Welch said, he feels is damaging the Constitution.

"I think the guardrails of democracy are under assault. When I see the president attacking the press, attacking the rule of law, being too cozy — in my view — with dictators and authoritarians," Welch said about Trump, "I think that’s very dangerous."

Welch said he thinks this election will be a referendum on Trump, but that even if Democrats take control of the U.S. House in January, pursuing impeachment of the president would be detrimental: "If we, the Democrats, take the majority, then it gives us the opportunity to earn people's trust, and we will not earn their trust if what our agenda is about is retaliation. That'll get us absolutely nowhere."

As far as impeachment, he said that the independent investigation by Robert Mueller would have to be fully carried out before possible next steps could be evaluated.

On health care:

"It's a completely broken market, and bottom line, the United States pays the most and gets the least," Welch said.

He said that a Medicare for All system — where everyone helps pay the cost, but everyone has coverage provided — should be our aim.

Welch also cited legislation he has introduced that would give both people (and employers) the opportunity to buy into Medicare at age 50 and up.

And a little more:

Welch noted that the time he's spent in Congress has been a period marked by dysfunction and partisan politics. One way he suggested addressing that is by re-evaluating the power structure.

"The most important thing for us to do in the House to make it more effective is to empower the committees and to take the centralization of power that's in the Speaker's office right now, and distribute it to the committees," he said.

And Welch said he is working across party lines to address that Congressional dysfunction by establishing new rules.

What to hear more from Peter Welch? Listen to an extended interview here.

A thin grey line.

Keep going! Time To Vote 2018 — Attorney General | Auditor | Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Secretary of State | TreasurerU.S. Senate

AND REMEMBER: Vermont's 2018 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Related Content