Vermont’s state senate will be led by a woman for the first time & she’s an out lesbian

Vermont Sen. Becca Balint
Vermont Sen. Becca BalintPhoto: legislature.vermont.gov

Vermont’s state senate will be led by a woman and an out gay person for the first time in history next year.

The state’s Senate Democratic caucus voted to nominate Vermont Sen. Becca Balint (D) to be its next president pro tempore. Since Democrats control the state senate, she will probably win the vote for the position.

Related: Taylor Small will be Vermont’s first out transgender legislator

The caucus also voted for women to lead the party as majority leader and assistant majority leader.

“I am thrilled by this slate of strong, experienced leaders,” Balint said in a statement.

Balint, who lives with her wife Elizabeth R. Wohl and two kids in Brattleboro, was the first lesbian to be elected to the Vermont senate in 2014 and has made affordable housing, jobs, and LGBTQ equality some of her top priorities as a state lawmaker.

In 2018, a law she introduced that required single-user bathrooms in public buildings to be labeled gender-neutral went into effect.

She previously served as the party’s majority leader and now, as president pro tempore, she will have power to set the chamber’s agenda.

This coming session, Balint said that she would lead the state senate on responding to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“We will all need to be fully engaged in our shared work to help Vermonters weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “Our top priority this session will be to mitigate the impact of the pandemic while also trying to shift systems and policies to better address the needs of Vermonters going forward.”

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