Every year, my hometown of Middlebury celebrates Labor Day in festive fashion, with a rally on the town green where musicians play, politicians and community leaders speak, and children frolic—always capped off with a speech from Senator Bernie Sanders. I was honored to stand on the podium this year, speaking to the crowd of hundreds about why I am running to represent them. Here is what I said, standing alongside my friend and fellow Democratic nominee, Senator Chris Bray:
My name is Ruth Hardy and I’m running for state senate. I am the mom of three kids, and I’m running because in these divisive times, I want to do all I can to make sure our world is a safe place now and in the future.
I am running because families should be able to earn a living and take care of each other. We need better access to childcare and family leave that allows parents and caregivers work-life balance and a viable paycheck.
I am running because I want our schools to be strong and inclusive for all children. I want to ensure school funding is equitable and sustainable, and that our teachers have the resources they need to be both excellent educators and respected professionals.
I am running because Vermonters deserve good healthcare for all, starting with Universal Primary Care, and ensuring women’s reproductive rights, and strong mental health and drug treatment services.
I am running because we need to ensure our tight-knit communities are welcoming for everyone, including people of color, LGBTQ people, and New Americans. We can be a more inclusive Vermont, and we need to start now.
I am running because I believe a diverse economy is a strong economy. Our policies should value workers and the varied places where we work. A thriving economy is not just about business – it’s about all of us.
I am running because we should all feel safe from gun violence in our communities. We can tackle common sense gun safety and be a model for finding common ground on this divisive issue.
I am running because I love building collaborative budgets and sound fiscal policy. Budgets are a statement of our collective values and priorities, not political pawns or lines in the sand.
I am running with the support of hundreds of small dollar donors and dedicated volunteers, and the wisdom of all the people I meet campaigning who so generously share their stories. I am running to empower real people like all of you.
I am not reluctant to serve my community. I have been doing so for sixteen years. I have worked to help farm workers, people living in poverty, women & teens access vital health services. I have helped lead our schools through a significant period of change and our college through a fiscal crisis. I have trained and supported dozens of women running for office, and now I am joining them.
It is an exciting time to be running for office. Diverse, progressive Democrats are winning elections all across the country. Thousands of women are diving in to run for office. I am proud to be part of this movement. I am Ruth Hardy and I am running for state senate, and I am excited to serve you in Montpelier. Thank you!