As many begin to speculate about who presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will pick to be his running mate in the 2020 election, Sen. Tammy Bal
As many begin to speculate about who presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden will pick to be his running mate in the 2020 election, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has reportedly made the shortlist in the vetting process.
Here are 5 things to know about Baldwin, a possible contender for Biden’s vice presidential pick:
She would be the first openly gay vice president.
Baldwin was the first openly gay woman elected to Senate in 2012. She was also the first openly gay woman elected to the House, where she served from 1999 to 2013. She was also the first woman elected to Congress from Wisconsin.
Her state is pivotal for the 2020 election.
Wisconsin has been identified as a critical swing state by FiveThirtyEight and regularly sees close contests over the last few presidential elections. If Democrats flip Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, they could win the presidential election.
Her progressive record could excite far-left voters.
Baldwin has described herself as a progressive in the fashion of Robert M. La Follette. She supports progressive policies such as Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-All” plan, and she was one of 113 representatives to vote against the Iraq War. She and Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson deviate on votes more frequently than any other pair of senators from the same state.
She endorsed Biden late in the primary.
Baldwin did not endorse Joe Biden until April 15, a week after Sanders dropped out and after Biden had already won the Wisconsin primary.
Republicans come after her for her handling of a VA opioid scandal.
In August of 2014, the VA Office of Inspector General gave Baldwin’s office a damning report of the Veterans’ Affairs facility in Tomah about over-prescription and unchecked drug-seeking behavior of patients, but her office sat on the report. Then, after a veteran who visited the facility died from an opiate overdose, Tomah VA employee Ryan Hon contacted Sens. Baldwin and Johnson’s offices to blow the whistle on the overprescription. Johnson’s office opened a case file on the matter, but Baldwin’s did not act on the tip.
Republican opponent Leah Vukmir hit Baldwin for failing to act in 2015 in the 2018 Senate election. “Make no mistake about it: Tammy Baldwin let our veterans down at the Tomah VA,” said Vukmir, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “To have sat on a report, to have been the only person in this congressional delegation to have known that a doctor was over-prescribing opioids, a veteran died and many others became addicted, to me, it’s unconscionable.”
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“Veterans face some of the most complex challenges at the VA, and Tammy Baldwin is working on solutions to do right by them and their families. Tammy wrote and fought to pass Jason’s Law, which helps stop the over-prescribing of opioids at the VA and holds the VA accountable,” the Baldwin campaign responded.
According to The Sentinel, Baldwin disciplined top aides for mismanaging the complaint.