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Vermont ends streak as the last state to send a woman to Congress

Vermont state Sen. Becca Balint will become the first woman and first LGBTQ person to represent the state in Congress after winning the election for Vermont's one House seat.
Wilson Ring
/
AP
Vermont state Sen. Becca Balint will become the first woman and first LGBTQ person to represent the state in Congress after winning the election for Vermont's one House seat.

Follow live updates and results from Election Day 2022 here.

All 50 states in the U.S. have now sent a woman to represent them in Congress.

Vermont was the last state to have never elected a woman to Washington, but on Tuesday, state Sen. Becca Balint won the state's lone seat in the House of Representatives. She was heavily favored to beat out Republican Liam Madden and will become the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ person to represent the state.

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In an interview with NPR the week before Election Day, Balint said the weight of making history was starting to hit her.

"I definitely have heard from a lot of constituents how they're excited to be sending a woman to Congress for the first time, to be sending an openly gay person," Balint said.

"Representation absolutely matters ... just being able to picture yourself in that role is important," she said.

Balint said one of the reasons that she held back from running for office at first was because she couldn't picture herself doing it as an openly gay person.

"I didn't have any role models ... it was not something that felt possible to me. So I'm creating that sense of possibility for my constituents and their kids and grandkids and that is so exciting to me," Balint said.

Balint is taking over the seat previously held by Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat who was elected Tuesday night to represent Vermont in the Senate, replacing long-serving Sen. Patrick Leahy. Leahy, 82, was first elected to the Senate in 1974 and didn't seek reelection this year.

More Election 2022 coverage:

  • Vermont Election results
  • Live updates from Vermont Public
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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    Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.