U.S. House Primary Race 2020: Anya Tynio
Anya Tynio is among four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Vermont's U.S. Congress seat, currently held by Rep. Peter Welch. This is Tynio's second campaign for Vermont’s only congressional seat.
Tynio was a 2018 Republican candidate for Vermont's at-large congressional district. She lost the primary on August 14, 2018, but she was put back on the ballot after the primary winner withdrew.
VPR's Mary Engisch spoke with Anya Tynio, and their interview below has been condensed and edited for clarity. VPR is interviewing all of the candidates for Congress.
Mary Engisch: Tell Vermont voters three key traits that you possess and you'll bring with you to Congress for Vermont?
Anya Tynio: I will bring with me a strong work ethic. I'm a hardworking person. I have moral fiber. I care deeply about the state and our economy, farmers, constitutional rights. So I will bring all of those things with me to Congress.
Why are you running, and why now?
I think that it's time for Vermont to have representation that is very focused on the working class. Again, agriculture, somebody who values our constitutional rights and who will defend those in Washington, D.C.. A younger voice, somebody who is going to live with the consequences of her votes for the next many decades.
Where do you stand on immigration policy?
The immigration policies in the United States have been broken for a long time. I come from a long line of immigrants that came to this country in the early 1900s. So there is no way that I am anti-immigrant. I mean, they paved the way for me to be here today. The truth of the matter, though, is that we have to focus on legal immigration, a path to citizenship. So we need to make that a focus, that legal immigration and a path to citizenship is how people join our nation.
Small businesses in Vermont have been shuttered for months due to COVID-19. Some have had to close forever. Talk about what "buying local" means to you, especially now.
I think that this pandemic has really shown us the need for having American-made products, American jobs, American manufacturing, especially for health care products. I think that buying local has never been more important than it is today. "Buying local" to me means that we're supporting American jobs, American companies that we will buy and hire Americans first. I have no problem with import-export, but we do need to focus on our country first.
Protests continue across the nation and in Vermont regarding racial injustice and also against police brutality. Where do you stand on calls to defund the police?
I would say that the defunding of police is not an answer to the problems that we're facing right now. It would cause a significant amount of harm to citizens who rely on the police force for their protection. I do believe that the majority of police officers are good people who really are trying to help.
Unfortunately, with the problems that we've seen with the protesting and everything, it seems to be a rallying cry for racial justice. But defunding the police does not equate to racial justice.
Your campaign has been endorsed by Vermont Right To Life. Talk about what that means to you, and to your campaign and to your potential voters.
Well, personally, to me, I was very honored to be endorsed by Vermont Right To Life. I think that it is every citizen's duty to protect those that are vulnerable or unable to protect themselves, whether that is somebody with developmental disabilities or somebody with physical disabilities or an unborn child who can't speak for themselves. It is our job to speak for them. I mean, I understand medical situations come into play here. But as far as preferential abortion goes, I could not be more against that.
Two years ago, VPR's Bob Kinzel asked whether you believed the Trump administration at that point had upheld its campaign promises to better the economy and better foreign relations. In 2018, you did agree that that was the case. Do you still feel the same now, in 2020?
I think if we look before the COVID-19 virus has hit, the economy was doing better than it had been doing in over 50 years. I mean, we still had a ways to go. But I do think that the Trump administration did what they promised American voters they would do in 2016, and he worked very hard to achieve those goals.
Will you support Donald Trump for president?
I will be voting for Donald Trump. And I know that that's probably going to make me very unpopular with some people. But again, it's based on who I think will do the best job for the United States.
Is there anything else that I haven't asked you about that you want to make sure voters know before they head to the polls?
Yes, I think one of the most important things that we're facing in this election is preservation of constitutional rights. It's one of the main reasons that I am running for office. And I think that it's important for voters to know that whether or not you feel strongly about the Second Amendment, or you feel strongly about, you know, wearing a mask in public seems to be one that people tend to equate with constitutional rights these days.
It's important to note that these rights were put in place to make sure that we as Americans retain all the freedoms that our founding fathers had in mind for us. And so it is important to elect politicians who value the Constitution, who will focus on the Constitution as the basis for making laws, and who will protect those rights for all of us. And I will do that.
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Vermont’s primary election is on Aug. 11, so VPR is reaching out to candidates in contested races for governor, lieutenant governor and the U.S. House to find out why they're seeking to serve, and where they stand on the issues of the day. Find our full coverage here.