Photo: Alton Christensen

Peter Welch

U.S. Congressman

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt) is Vermont’s sole member of the House of Representatives. Since his election to Congress in 2006, the Democrat has been widely recognized in Washington as a skillful legislator who works effectively with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. After the American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed on January 1, 2013, Rep. Welch introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal exclusionary provisions for pharmaceutical companies that had been included in the law.

As a member of the House, Welch has championed legislation to make homes and buildings more energy efficient, make college affordable, and expand access to health care. Welch opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and frequently expressed in House debates that ending the war should be a top priority. He also supported legislation to help disabled veterans, and to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

First elected to represent Windsor County in the Vermont Senate in 1980, Welch was unanimously elected by his colleagues in 1985 to lead the chamber, becoming the first Democrat in Vermont history to hold the position of President Pro Tempore.

In 2006, Welch was elected to the United States House of Representatives. His opponent was Republican Martha Rainville, and the campaign gained nationwide attention for being the only contested Congressional race in the country in which both candidates agreed not to run negative ads.

In 2011, Welch was appointed Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He currently serves on the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.

After graduating magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross in 1969, Welch worked for a year in Chicago fighting housing discrimination as one of the first Robert F. Kennedy Fellows. Welch enrolled in law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 1973. He then worked as a public defender and founded a small law practice in Vermont before beginning his career in electoral politics.