By Michelle Amidzich, News Editor
Assistant Attorney General Molly Gray announced her candidacy for Vermont lieutenant governor on January 27. Gray, an adjunct VLS professor, is the fifth person to enter the race, and if elected, she would become Vermont’s fourth woman to hold the office.
This is Gray’s first time running for public office. Gray is positioning herself as a leader of a new generation who is focused on saving Vermont’s rural communities, making the state a place where people can raise and support families, and bridging the gap between the people and their representatives so citizens can more easily participate in their government.
“I don’t think we need more Montpelier in Montpelier,” said Gray. “We need more Vermont in Montpelier.”
Gray prides herself on being a product of Vermont. Gray grew up on a family farm in Orange County and attended both the University of Vermont and Vermont Law School. She currently serves as a prosecutor in the Vermont Assistant Attorney General’s office. Moving from citizen to public servant, Gray says she now feels a gap between the people of Vermont and the state’s political office that she wants to address.
When Gray’s mother fell ill, Gray ran out of paid sick days and vacation days. “I graduated from Vermont Law School with $125,000 in student loan debt, and I take every penny that I have to pay off the debt,” said Gray.
“I can’t afford to buy a home. I still rent, and I’ll be 36 in March. I had to choose between taking unpaid leave, which would have meant defaulting on my student loans and not being able to pay rent, or taking care of my mom.” Gray said it was in this conflict that she realized she wanted to be the voice of generational change.
According to Vermont’s Department of Health, the fastest-growing segment of the Vermont population is persons aged 60-79 years. Since the 2010 Census, there has been a decline in Vermont’s younger population, in both the 40-59 year-old and under 20 year-old populations.
“In Vermont, we keep talking about: ‘How do we bring the next generation back to the state and keep a generation here that’s really excited about Vermont?’ There are so many people who want to be here, but it seems like we aren’t creating pathways to be able to do that,” said Gray.
Gray has a two-part plan to create and implement solutions. First, she plans to unite with other legislators to draft and effective solutions and see them through in their communities. She also plans to use the lieutenant governor’s office to hear directly from the community and remain connected. Her ultimate goal is to make government more accessible to Vermonters, and she is implementing that goal as a candidate. Gray has a “call now” button on her campaign’s Facebook page to show the accessibility she aims to bring to office and give constituents an easy way to voice their concerns.
Gray’s campaign is focused on uniting rural and urban communities. Gray also wants to bring together the younger generation, farmers, educators, and other Vermonters to make them excited about government. Gray’s plan is to have events all over Vermont, including at VLS, to speak with voters face-to-face.
“The primary is the race,” said Gray. “It’s about getting those individuals out to the polls and to bring in a new generation of voters who are excited to be here and want to make it work.”
Gray credits Vermont Law School for providing her with the skills needed to run for lieutenant governor. She said VLS taught her to be a problem solver, quick on her feet and to listen more than speak. These skills, said Gray, not only make a good lawyer but also a great leader.
“Molly’s deep commitment to Vermont is evident by her decision to obtain a law degree from Vermont Law School, her giving back to the School through her teaching as an Adjunct Professor, and her service to Vermont as an Assistant Attorney General,” said Dean Thomas McHenry of Gray in a recent interview.
The primary election is August 11, 2020. For more information on voting in Vermont, click here.