On April 6, 2022

Rep. Becca White announces primary challenge to Windsor County’s senators

By Sarah Mearhoff/VTDigger

Rep. Becca White, D-Hartford, is looking for a promotion.

The two-term state representative on Monday, April 4, launched her candidacy for one of Windsor County’s three state Senate seats. 

Unless any of the delegation’s incumbent senators — Alison Clarkson, Dick McCormack and Alice Nitka, all Democrats — decide to retire, White’s candidacy sets up an unusual competitive primary come August.

Should she win, the 27-year-old White would become the youngest member of the Senate, and that’s a fact she’s stressing in her campaign messaging. Her slogan — “It’s time for the next generation of leadership to come from Windsor County” — was born from a conversation she had with her mother.

“I was describing how it was hard to hear either comments or concern from people in my age group who were saying, ‘I just don’t have anyone in a regional position who I can go to and talk to about issues that are facing my generation,’” White said. “And my mom said, ‘Yeah, we need that next generation of leadership,’ and I basically was like, ‘There’s my bumper sticker.’”

Most members of the Senate are at least 50 years old, and many are far older than that. The three youngest currently serving are Sens. Corey Parent (R-Franklin), Joshua Terenzini (R-Rutland), and Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden), all of whom are in their 30s.

White said she respects state senators who have years of experience, and the institutional knowledge that comes with it. But, she added, “It’s hard to look over the Senate and not be concerned that there isn’t a bench of next leaders.” And serving in Vermont’s part-time Legislature can be logistically challenging for young people.

By Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
Rep. Rebecca White, D-Hartford, has announced a Senate run.

“That makes me feel a responsibility to run, because I have so many people in my life who are just as talented, if not more so than I am who, due to circumstances outside of their control, can’t make being in government their life,” she said. “Whether they have kids, or they have a mortgage, or they don’t have a partner like I do who I can get my health insurance through, it really does count a lot of people out.”

Though the Legislature recently approved new House and Senate districts following the 2020 Census, all three of Windsor County’s incumbent senators still live within the new district lines.

Clarkson said Monday that, as of now, all three are currently planning to run for reelection, “but you never know what will happen. You know life. Things happen.”

Clarkson added that White’s candidacy is exciting and “good news.” Adding: “Becca has been a thoughtful colleague … and has let us all know what her intent is.”

Nitka said she hasn’t made a final decision as to whether she will run again. 

McCormack said that, as in past years, he plans to announce his reelection plans after the conclusion of the legislative session. “Nothing about this year is different,” he added, saying that he has been weighing retirement for several election cycles.

Asked what she believes are the top issues facing Windsor County and the rest of the state, White pointed to Vermont’s housing crisis, income inequality and demographic challenges. She said she’s been proud of her work in the House Transportation Committee and on Prop 5, which would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. She also pointed to her efforts to remain accessible to her constituents.

As for how she will differentiate herself from the three incumbents during the primary race, White said: “I will be running a very robust campaign that seeks to engage every single door in the county, and that is a strategy that isn’t being employed by every Windsor county senator at the moment.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Vermont Legislature adjourns after a contentious 2024 session

May 15, 2024
Session was shaped by debates over property taxes, housing shortages, flood recovery and public safety By Sarah Mearhoff and Shaun Robinson/VTDigger After a tumultuous day of dealmaking on housing, land use and property tax measures, the Vermont Legislature adjourned its 2024 session in the early hours of Saturday morning, May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m.…

New data shows first decrease in Vermont opioid deaths since 2019

May 15, 2024
Overdose deaths in Vermont have decreased for the first time since 2019. According to the Dept. of Health’s newly released Annual Fatal Overdose Report, opioid-related overdoses resulted in the death of 231 Vermonters in 2023, a 5% drop from 2022 when 244 Vermonters died. The overdose report includes data on Vermonters who died of any drug…

Safe bet

May 15, 2024
After a week of long days and late nights, the regular session of the 2024 Vermont Legislature adjourned early Saturday morning just after 2 a.m. My best guess in the annual adjournment pool was 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, which turned out to be way too optimistic. When the Legislature finishes its work for the session,…

A lot accomplished this Legislative session

May 15, 2024
Vermont’s 2023-24 Legislative Biennium ended in the wee hours of Saturday morning May 11. The Senate gaveled out at 1:18 a.m. and the House about 2 a.m. This has been a hard session. It was begun in the wake of a natural disaster, with a state recovering from terrible flooding. Despite these challenges we managed…