Q&A: Candidates for Representative to Congress | Election Voter Guide | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Q&A: Candidates for Representative to Congress

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Published September 27, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Becca Balint, Mat Druzba, Liam Madden, Adam Ortiz, Ericka Redic, Luke Talbot - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Becca Balint, Mat Druzba, Liam Madden, Adam Ortiz, Ericka Redic, Luke Talbot

Vermont's sole seat in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives has no incumbent seeking reelection this year for the first time since 2006. Whoever wins this two-year term will have the opportunity to propose and vote on federal legislation and serve on committees, including those charged with government oversight. These are the candidates competing for your vote.

Information and photos were provided by the candidates.

Becca Balint

Age: 54
Town of residence: Brattleboro
Occupation: Vermont Senate president pro tempore/former middle school teacher
Party affiliation: Democrat
Website: beccabalint.com

What will be your top priority in office?

Protecting our democracy is my top priority. As Vermont's congresswoman, I will do everything possible to make our democracy representative, fair and to ensure voting rights. Only with a strong democracy can we protect our environment and reproductive rights and create a health care system and economy that work for everyone.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

I believe all change starts with conversation and having the courage to connect and find common ground. To break through our polarization, we also need structural reforms: ending partisan gerrymandering, ending the Electoral College and filibuster, and reforming the Supreme Court.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

Our current health care system is fundamentally flawed. To reduce costs, we must move to a national single-payer approach that delivers the care Vermonters and Americans deserve. We must also end corporate drug profiteering by capping costs and allowing Medicare to negotiate fair prices for prescription medications.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

Yes, I strongly support banning stock trades by members of Congress, the judiciary and the executive branch while in office.

Matt Druzba

Age: 58
Town of residence: Burlington
Occupation: Chief operating officer; finance industry
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: MattD4VT.com

What will be your top priority in office?

One of my top priorities will be to bring "independent" and nonpartisan "principled leadership" to Washington in the name of all Vermonters. Also, women's rights, personal reproductive autonomy, Second Amendment support with commonsense gun control, climate change, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, effective military and a "smaller government" direction.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

Being another Vermont "independent" in Congress would send a strong message to Washington. I was a Reagan Republican and a Democrat, each for a dozen years. It's instrumental now being a left-leaning independent and moderate (with conservative undertones). I will never be beholden to any political party or special interest group.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

As a nonpartisan independent, I would meet with highly informed, well-intended health care professionals, consultants, experts, etc. (regardless of party affiliation) to listen to (and support the best) well-thought-out and vetted proposals and direction on best approaches to combat rapid-rising health care costs.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

I would support a "partial/hybrid" ban that would clearly address any conflict of interest or perception of a conflict.

Liam Madden

Age: 38
Town of residence: Rockingham
Occupation: Director of solar energy department for a home energy tech company
Party affiliation: Republican
Website: RebirthDemocracy.com

What will be your top priority in office?

Improving the health of our political system so that we can solve enormous and complex challenges. Beyond election finance and term limits (which I support), we need changes in technology, in legal structure and in mindset, which I outline in greater depths at my website, RebirthDemocracy.com.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

Firstly, as an independent, I wouldn't be beholden to a party agenda and I would be willing to develop relationships with members of any party. Beyond my personal efforts, I will prioritize introducing innovations for the citizenry to bypass gridlock and politicians who don't listen.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

By supporting the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, so Americans don't pay twice as much as Canadians. Additionally, in service of creating a system of universal and affordable care, we should subsidize the costs of medical school for doctors willing to serve in federally funded, locally controlled, democratically managed health care clinics.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

Yes. I don't own any stocks, as an FYI.

Adam Ortiz

Age: 45
Town of residence: Rutland City
Occupation: Former construction worker and "everything guy"
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: None

What will be your top priority in office?

Paying the bills we have before making new ones. Improving cellphone towers, replacing drinking-water pipes, improving teamwork, updating all "what if" plans.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

I won't. People are going to feel how they're going to feel. All I can do is lead by example.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

We need to prove that our way of doing things works, and it will be up to others if they're going to follow. By having a team of third-party shoppers buy materials, we'll save money. Once buyers hear "government," the price goes up.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

If it is the will of Vermont, I will do what is asked of me.

Ericka Redic

Age: 44
Town of residence: Burlington
Occupation: Accountant
Party affiliation: Libertarian
Website: RedicForCongress.com

What will be your top priority in office?

Restore accountability, transparency and integrity to the federal government. The decisions of our elected officials have created utter chaos around our nation. From the unstable economy and a recession they deny to the increase in suicides and overdoses thanks to the crisis at our southern border. Americans deserve better.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

By focusing on what actually matters — the safety and security of the American people and stability in our economy. These things should not be partisan issues.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

Government intervention continues to be the number-one cause of rising prices and interruptions in the delivery of health care. It's time for the federal government to stop picking winners and losers and let medical professionals get back to doing what they do best — taking care of patients, not bureaucrats.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

Yes, and this should also include immediate family members.

Luke Talbot

Age: 59
Town of residence: Brighton
Occupation: Field inspector for the commercial heating and power generation industry
Party affiliation: Independent
Website: None

What will be your top priority in office?

The southern border must be secured to stop human trafficking along with the flow of fentanyl and the millions of illegal immigrants. This is essential for the safety and security of border protection officers and local communities along with reducing the massive financial burden to the country.

How would you address political polarization as a member of Congress?

As a new member of Congress, there is an opportunity to have honest discussions about issues that affect all Americans, regardless of party. I would also advocate for term limits to eliminate career politicians who become more focused on what's best for reelection instead of what's best for the country.

How should Congress address rapidly rising health care costs?

I believe there is a large component of the cost that's related to government mandates in aspects of health care. We must also address factors such as illegal immigrants, malpractice and fraud that all impact cost. Exploring nontraditional options like shopping across state lines and expanding self-funded HSAs are potential solutions.

Would you support banning members of Congress from trading stocks while in office?

Members must be allowed to invest, but there must be a blind trust preventing them from profiting from their position.