Becca Balint

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Becca Balint
Becca Balint at work.jpg
Majority Leader of the Vermont Senate
Assumed office
January 6, 2017
Preceded byPhilip Baruth
Member of the Vermont Senate
from the Windham County district
Assumed office
January 7, 2015
Serving with Jeanette White
Preceded byPeter Galbraith
Personal details
Born1968 (age 51–52)
Heidelberg, West Germany
(now Germany)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Elizabeth R. Wohl
ResidenceBrattleboro, Vermont
EducationColumbia University
Smith College (BA)
Harvard University (MEd)
University of Massachusetts,

Rebecca A. "Becca" Balint (born c. 1968) is a Vermont educator, writer, and politician. A Democrat, she has served in the Vermont Senate since 2015. Since 2017, she has served as the Senate Majority Leader.

Personal life[edit]

Balint was born circa 1968 at the United States Army hospital in Heidelberg,[1] a daughter of Peter G. Balint and Sandra (Couchman) Balint.[2] At the time of her birth, her father was a U.S. Army captain based in Germany.[1] Peter Balint immigrated to the United States as a child, after his father was killed during the Holocaust.[3] He served in the army after graduating from Siena College,[4] and later worked at a phone company.[3] Balint's mother worked at a watch factory and eventually earned both a college degree and a black belt in kung fu.[3]

Balint was raised in Upstate New York, and attended public schools in Peekskill.[5] In 1994, Balint moved to Plymouth, Vermont, for a job as a rock-climbing instructor at Farm & Wilderness summer camp.[3] She became a full-time Vermont resident in 1997.[5]

Balint was on the crew team as a coxswain at Barnard College,[6] and was captain of the crew team at Smith College.[7] Balint remains interested in athletics, and is an avid runner.[8][9][10]

Balint and her wife, attorney Elizabeth R. Wohl, met in 2000 at Farm & Wilderness.[3] They live in Brattleboro with their two children, a son and a daughter.[3]


Balint attended Barnard College of Columbia University for two years, and in 1990 received her bachelor of arts degree in history and women's studies from Smith College, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.[5]

In 1995, Balint earned a master of education degree from Harvard University, and in 2001 she received a master of arts in history from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[5]

Balint is a 2013 graduate of The Campaign School at Yale University and a 2014 graduate of the inaugural class of Emerge Vermont.[3]


After graduating college in 1990, Balint worked minimum wage jobs in bakeries, restaurants, and cafes in Massachusetts.[11]

Balint moved to Vermont in 1994 to teach rock climbing at the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth, and became a full-time resident of Vermont in 1997.[12] She went on to direct Saltash Mountain Camp at Farm & Wilderness in Mount Holly, a coed wilderness adventure camp for children ages 11 to 15.[12]

Balint has taught in public and private schools throughout New England, and at the Community College of Vermont.[12] When her two children were young, she worked at home as a full-time caregiver.[3] Balint has served on the workforce committee of the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS).[12] She is also a Coaches Training Institute-trained coach.[13]

Balint writes a weekly op-ed column in the Brattleboro Reformer, on subjects ranging from politics, to nature, to parenting.[1][12][14][15] She has also written for other publications.[11][16][17]

Balint is a frequent public speaker, for example at the 2019 climate strike demonstration in Burlington, Vermont.[18][19]

Political career[edit]

Balint has been a State Senator from Windham County since 2015, and Senate Majority Leader since 2017.

Balint serves on the Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, to which she was appointed in 2015.[5] She also serves on the Committee on Finance, the Senate Rules and Joint Rules Committees, and the Legislative Committee on Judicial Rules.[5] Balint has chaired the Senate Sexual Harassment Prevention Panel since 2017.[5] During her first term, Balint served on the Institutions Committee.[20] During her second term, Balint served as vice chair of the Education Committee.[5]

At the start of her second term in January 2017, Balint was elected as the State Senate's Majority Leader, succeeding Phil Baruth, who did not seek another term in the position.[21] At the start of the 2019 legislative session, Balint was re-elected as Majority Leader.[5]

During her time as State Senator, Balint has earned a reputation for being "[l]iberal but pragmatic, with a particular interest in social justice and anti-poverty efforts."[3] As Majority Leader, she has a reputation for running efficient caucus meetings.[3] Balint is also known for her mentorship of other women in politics.[3][22]

Balint was the first openly gay woman to serve in the Vermont Senate.[3]

Balint's legislative priorities have included:

As chair of the Senate Sexual Harassment Panel, Balint has worked to update the policy and the culture regarding sexual harassment in the Vermont State House.[33]

As a member of the eight-person, bipartisan Joint Rules Committee, Balint is helping lead the Vermont Legislature's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[34][35][36][37][38] She has written about the experience in her column.[39]

Prior to serving in the Senate, Balint served on Brattleboro's Development Review Board, and was elected as a district representative to Brattleboro's town meeting.[12] Balint has been endorsed by the Vermont State Employees' Association, Vermont League of Conservation Voters, Union of Vermont Educators (Vermont-NEA), Planned Parenthood, Gun Sense Vermont, and the Victory Fund.[40][41]

Electoral history[edit]

In 2014, Balint was a candidate for the Vermont Senate from the two-member at-large Windham County district; one incumbent, Democrat Peter Galbraith, did not run for reelection.[42]

  • 2014 Democratic Primary Election, State Senate, Windham County[43][44]
    • Jeanette White (inc.), 40.1%
    • Becca Balint, 29.9%
    • Roger Allbee, 22%
    • Joan Bowman, 7.9%
  • 2014 General Election, State Senate, Windham County[45]
    • Jeanette White (D, inc.), 43.4%
    • Becca Balint (D), 35.6%
    • Mary Hasson (I), 11%
    • Jerry Levy (LU), 5%
    • Aaron Diamondstone (LU), 4.7%
  • 2016 Democratic Primary Election, State Senate, Windham County[46]
    • Jeanette White (inc.), 50.4%
    • Becca Balint (inc.), 48.9%
  • 2016 General Election, State Senate, Windham County[47][48]
    • Jeanette White (D, inc.), 36.6%
    • Becca Balint (D, inc.), 35.7%
    • David Schoales (I), 17.9%
    • Jerry Levy (LU), 4.9%
    • Aaron Diamondstone (LU), 4.6%
  • 2018 Democratic Primary Election, State Senate, Windham County[49]
    • Becca Balint (inc.), 46.5%
    • Jeanette White (inc.), 42.6%
    • Wayne Vernon Estey, 10.6%
  • 2018 General Election, State Senate, Windham County[50]
    • Becca Balint (D, inc.), 39.4%
    • Jeanette White (D, inc.), 36.6%
    • Tyler Colford (R), 13.3%
    • Beverly Stone (I), 5.8%
    • Aaron Diamondstone (LU), 2.6%
    • Jerry Levy (LU), 2.3%


  1. ^ a b c Balint, Becca (February 25, 2016). "Becca Balint: An Unlooked for Blessing". Brattleboro Reformer. Brattleboro, VT.
  2. ^ "New York State Marriage Index, 1881-1967, Entry for Peter G. Balint and Sandra Couchman". Lehi, UT. 1965. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Freese, Alicia. "Woman on the Rise: Becca Balint's Ascent From Stay-at-Home Mom to Senate Majority Leader". Seven Days. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "Major McKinney Commissions ROTC Officers". Siena News. Loudonville, NY: Siena College. September 24, 1965. p. 7.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Senator Becca Balint, 2019-2020 Session". Vermont Legislature. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  6. ^ The Mortarboard. New York, NY: Barnard College. 1987. p. 164.
  7. ^ "All Time Crew Roster". Smith College Athletics. Northampton, MA: Smith College. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Balint, Becca (May 19, 2016). "Steep Learning Curve in my First Term". Brattleboro Reformer. Brattleboro, VT.
  9. ^ "Participant Results". 5th Annual Fall Foliage Half Marathon, Rhinebeck, NY. Albany, NY: Albany Running Exchange. October 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Freese, Alicia (December 26, 2018). "Backstory: Most Aerobic Interview". Seven Days.
  11. ^ a b Balint, Becca (February 18, 2020). "Becca Balint: Raising the minimum wage will help women and families". The Bennington Banner.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Senator Becca Balint, 2017-2018 Session". Vermont Legislature. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Ritz, Susan (2017). "Becca Balint Leads with Head and Heart". Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  14. ^ Balint, Becca. "Becca Balint: Our rural life full of beauty and challenges". Brattleboro Reformer.
  15. ^ Balint, Becca. "Becca Balint: The planet is burning". Brattleboro Reformer.
  16. ^ Balint, Becca (October 10, 2019). "Becca Balint: The power of comics to educate and inform". The Manchester Journal.
  17. ^ Balint, Becca (December 15, 2019). "Incarcerated women overlooked". VTDigger.
  18. ^ a b Mercer, Ryan (September 20, 2019). "Thousands show up for Burlington climate rally, part of Global Climate Strike". Burlington Free Press.
  19. ^ a b "Becca Balint: Vermont Climate Strike and Rally". Bob the Green Guy.
  20. ^ Herrick, John (January 9, 2015). "Senate Committees Take Shape". VTDigger. Montpelier, VT.
  21. ^ Walters, John (January 4, 2017). "Senate Democrats Elect Becca Balint as Majority Leader". Seven Days. Burlington, VT.
  22. ^ Corwin, Emily. "Why Has Vermont Never Sent A Woman To Congress?". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  23. ^ a b Ritz, Susan (February 2017). "February/March 2017 - Becca Balint Leads with Head and Heart".
  24. ^ Hirschfeld, Peter; Smith, Matthew (October 25, 2019). "Rural Vermonters Face Challenges — So What Are Lawmakers Doing About It?". Vermont Public Radio.
  25. ^ Balint, Becca (February 18, 2020). "Balint: Raising the minimum wage will help women and families". Rutland Herald.
  26. ^ "Right move for Vermont". Rutland Herald.
  27. ^ Lindholm, Jane; Gale Rosen, Sam (June 19, 2019). "How Vermont's Reproductive Rights Legislation Fits Into The National Debate". Vermont Public Radio. Vermont Edition.
  28. ^ Norton, Kit (January 22, 2019). "House bill to protect right to abortion introduced". VTDigger.
  29. ^ Goodman, David (May 23, 2019). ""We trust women:" Sen. Becca Balint on Vermont's historic abortion rights law". Vermont Conversation.
  30. ^ McCullum, April (March 16, 2016). "Vt. Vote Bans Conversion Therapy for Gay Teens". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT.
  31. ^ Kaouris, Maria (May 2, 2018). "Single Occupancy Restrooms Move Toward "Gender Free"". The Middlebury Campus.
  32. ^ Balint, Becca; Krowinski, Jill (August 9, 2019). "Building an economy that works for everyone". The Eagle Times.
  33. ^ Clift, Elayne (Spring 2018). "Spring 2018 - Changing the Culture of Sexual Harassment in the State House".
  34. ^ Gram, Dave (March 13, 2020). "The Dave Gram Show: From the Statehouse". WDEV Radio.
  35. ^ Walters, John (March 10, 2020). "Statehouse leaders forming COVID-19 response plan as lawmakers return to work". VTDigger.
  36. ^ Cutler, Calvin (March 13, 2020). "Vermont lawmakers to focus on COVID-19 response and budget". WCAX.
  37. ^ McCallum, Kevin; Heintz, Paul; Flanders, Colin (March 13, 2020). "Vermont Legislature to Shut Down for at Least a Week". Seven Days.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  38. ^ Dillon, John (March 17, 2020). "They Can't Vote Remotely, But Vermont Lawmakers Get Involved In Coronavirus Response". Vermont Public Radio.
  39. ^ Balint, Becca (March 19, 2020). "Staying calm and safe while managing the surreal". Brattleboro Reformer.
  40. ^ "Becca Balint's Ratings and Endorsements". Vote Smart. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  41. ^ "Endorsements". Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  42. ^ Heintz, Paul (June 10, 2014). "Peter Galbraith, a Lightning Rod in the Vermont Senate, to Step Down". Seven Days. Burlington, VT.
  43. ^ "2014 State Senator: Democratic Primary, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2014.
  44. ^ Brown, Tom (August 27, 2014). "Primary Roundup: Who Won in Contested House, Senate Primaries". VTDigger. Montpelier, VT.
  45. ^ "2014 State Senator: General Election, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2014.
  46. ^ "2016 State Senator: Democratic Primary, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2016.
  47. ^ "2016 State Senator: General Election, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2016.
  48. ^ "Vermont Windham State Senate Results: Balint and White Win". The New York Times. New York, NY. December 13, 2016.
  49. ^ "2018 State Senator: Democratic Primary, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2018.
  50. ^ "2018 State Senator: General Election, Windham District". Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. 2018.

External links[edit]

Vermont Senate
Preceded by
Philip Baruth
Majority Leader of the Vermont Senate