It was necessary to find a president pro tempore in the Vermont Senate pending the election to be held in January 2021 because Tim Ashe did not seek reelection to the Senate and did not get the lieutenant governor position he had been dreaming of.
Since the Democrats have a majority in the Senate, they chose the interim president and soon chose Becca Balint, their leader since 2017.
Balint has experience in the legislature. She is beginning her fourth term in the Senate after being re-elected a few weeks ago.
As president pro tempore, Balint will set the agenda and preside over the Senate when Lieutenant-Governor Molly Gray is unavailable.
She will also serve on the Committee of Committees that “decides who will chair policy committees for the next two years.”
“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.”
What’s the point since it’s only temporary?
Since the Senate is composed of a majority of Democrats and Balint has been their leader for three years now, there is a good chance that she will be confirmed as Senate President in the upcoming election.
This is the first time that the Vermont Senate will be headed by a woman and a lesbian. Becca Balint is making history again. She became the first lesbian elected to the Vermont Senate in 2014. She made history in 2018 with her bill requiring single-user bathrooms in public buildings to be labeled ‘gender-neutral’. The law was passed and has since come into effect.
Also know that women have taken power in Vermont. In addition to Becca Balint and newly elected Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray, Democrats appointed Alison Clarkson as the new majority leader and Cheryl Hooker as assistant majority leader.