Vermont State Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale Ends Run for U.S. Congress; to Focus on Re-Election
- The daughter of an Indian immigrant father from Punjab and a Jewish American mother, she became the first woman of color elected to the state Senate in 2020.
Vermont State Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale has ended her bid for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. Congress. She is instead running for re-election to the State Senate, according to a May 27 statement issued by her office. The daughter of an Indian immigrant father from Punjab and a Jewish American mother, Ram Hinsdale has now announced her support for Becca Balint’s bid for Congress.
“There is a far greater feeling than winning, and that is doing what is right,” Ram said in the statement sent to American Kahani. “This moment calls on all of us to do what is best for our state and nation, and for me that means continuing to champion working people, climate action, and our civil rights here at home.”
About her decision to run for re-election, she said the recent resignations across the Vermont legislature and statewide offices highlighted “the need for experienced leadership to remain in Montpelier.”
Vermont is already the whitest state in the country, with more than 94 percent of the state’s population being white. In Chittenden County, which Ram Hinsdale represents in the state Senate, this number falls to 90.3 percent.
The daughter of an Indian immigrant father from Punjab and a Jewish American mother, who opened an Irish pub, Ram has broken numerous barriers throughout her career as a social scientist, legislator, equity consultant and leader. When her parents divorced, her mother became a single mom raising three kids.
She was 22 when she was first elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2008, becoming the youngest person ever elected. She served in the body until 2016 when she left her seat to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. She lost out to David Zuckerman, a Progressive and Democrat who ultimately won the election.
In 2020, Ram Hinsdale became the first woman of color elected to the Vermont Senate. She came in third in the six-seat Chittenden District with 46,504 votes, according to unofficial results posted on the Vermont Secretary of State Election website.
Ambitious from a young age, Ram Hinsdale’s political journey started in the 5th grade. She was first elected as Student Body President of her elementary school in Los Angeles.
She graduated from UVM with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While in school, she was a member of Slade, a student-run ecological cooperative. She took a sabbatical from politics after she lost the 2016 Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor. The respite from politics gave her time to attend the Harvard Kennedy School and reevaluate what matters to her, she has said in previous interviews.
Last summer, she married “the love of her life,” Jacob Hinsdale, in a Hindu-Jewish-French Canadian-Congregationalist ceremony on the shores of Lake Champlain. The couple lives in Shelburne, with their “beloved, rambunctious” dog Miso, her website says.
In a Sept. 16 op-ed in American Kahani, Ram Hinsdale wrote that during the wedding, “it was surreal and special to see our families and chosen community bridge political, cultural, and social divides for the one thing that makes us the most brave — love.” She noted that the “gathering was made all the more meaningful because it revealed the best of Vermont’s and our nation’s values against the backdrop of great discord and division.”
The Vermont primary election is on August 9th, and early voting begins on June 24th.