I left a life I loved in NYC and moved to a tiny town in rural Vermont during the pandemic. I miss takeout and trash pickup, but overall I’m thrilled with the decision.

Jessica Frisco
My dog in front of our barn during the snowy winter months.

  • Jessica Frisco is a healthcare director who moved from NYC to rural Vermont during the pandemic.
  • She and her fiancé quickly grew fond of their new small town, despite their worries about the change.
  • They enjoy more outdoor activities, save on expenses and groceries, and are easily making new friends.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Like millions of New Yorkers who justify their sky-high rents with the opportunity to live out their dreams, I thought NYC was the most incredible place in the world. After seven years in the city, I was thriving with strong friendships, a great job, a beautiful apartment in Williamsburg, and a packed schedule full of activism, exciting nights around town, and taking care of my dog.

At 28 years old, being a New Yorker felt like a huge part of my identity, and even during the pandemic, I had a difficult time imagining ever leaving.

But when I stumbled on my dream house in rural southern Vermont, I started imagining the crazy alternative of a life elsewhere. Could anything compare to the buzzing energy of NYC? Though I had always dreamed of owning my own home, I was deeply anxious about the thought of leaving behind my friends, the political causes and networks I had dedicated so much energy to, and the infinite opportunities of the city. NYC was stimulating, challenging, and full of interesting people.

But believe it or not, so is my new life in Dummerston, Vermont.

Here’s what it’s like to move from the big city to a tiny, rural hamlet – the main things I was worried about, and how they turned out.

Making the leap to Dummerston

Jessica Frisco
Jessica Frisco in front a cascading waterfall near her home in Dummerston, Vermont.

I traded in the “rustic chic” aesthetic ubiquitous across Williamsburg (farmhouse decor, hipster lumberjacks) for the real thing. The town I live in now is called Dummerston, a small community of 1,800 filled with dense woods and open farmland.

Unfortunately, the Vermont version of “rustic chic” means “needs work,” but my fiancé and I were looking forward to the challenges of getting our property up and running and testing out our handyman skills. It was whether I could make friends and find my purpose in this small town that really had me wondering.

Local culture

Jessica Frisco
Walking around downtown Brattleboro.

Ten minutes down the road from our house is the main town of Brattleboro, home to a whopping 12,000 people. Despite my initial anxieties, I’ve been impressed by how much there is to do when strolling through the town on a weekend.

Jessica Frisco
My fiancé and I grabbing craft beers at the local brewery.

The main strip of the historic downtown area overlooks the Connecticut River and is filled with coffee shops, eclectic restaurants, breweries, and thrift stores that even rival those in Brooklyn (except in price.)

Home economics

While the restaurant scene in Brattleboro and the surrounding area is impressive given the small size of the town, I do miss NYC’s unmatched offerings for takeout and access to literally any cuisine at any time of day. Takeout or a dinner in town has become more of a special occasion than a casual afterthought like it was in the city, especially since most places here close by 9 p.m.

However, now that I have my own house and lots of kitchen space, I’m cooking much more from my pantry stocked with bulk staples, produce sourced from local farms up the road, and lots of maple syrup.

Jessica Frisco
Stocking up on bulk grocery products.

Friends from NYC or family from my hometown in Connecticut come to visit often, and we love having the space to cook and host. Grocery stores in Vermont aren’t actually that much cheaper than in New York, but I’m saving around $250 a month by cooking nearly every meal from home.

Jessica Frisco
We’ve traded takeout for healthy home cooking.

With all the cooking comes a lot of composting, something that is mandated by the state of Vermont. While there are options for compost and trash disposal, like burying food waste in our yard or hiring a trash service to come by weekly, we’ve landed on making regular trips to the local dump to save money.

This has been one of the most challenging errands to adapt to, given the labor intensity of sorting by plastic type and garbage category, and that the dump is only open until the afternoon on weekdays and Saturdays. More than once, I’ve lost track of time and had to hang on to bags of food waste and recycling until the next weekend or rush during my lunch break between work meetings.

Building up a social life was easier than expected

It took me years of living in NYC to build up a circle of friends. New Yorkers are infamously flaky and hard to schedule with, given their packed schedules and competing options. With all the work I had put into my relationships, I was dreading starting from scratch in Dummerston. Yet it’s been shockingly easy, even in a pandemic.

The slower pace of life makes it easier to catch someone with a free afternoon, and my fiancé and I chat with our passing neighbors or host new friends regularly. We’ve also relied heavily on Facebook, joining the Brattleboro Facebook group and participating in a “Dog Park Pals” group to seek playdates for our dog (and ourselves).

dogs Jessica Frisco
We’ve made friends through local Facebook groups.

Now, neighbors stop by with a carton of eggs or some homemade maple syrup just to say hi, have a playdate with our dogs, or just to check in on how the New Yorkers are managing.

Trading rent for a mortgage

Of all the things to worry about, the finances of the move were actually quite attractive. In Williamsburg, I paid $1,400 a month for half of an 800 square foot two-bedroom apartment. In Dummerston, my fiancé and I split basically the same cost for a mortgage on an eight-acre property with a house, barn, and a massive shed. Plus, there are heavy tax incentives to leaving NYC and buying a home.

Jessica Frisco
My apartment in NYC versus my new house in Dummerston.

That said, home ownership has not come cheap. Without the buffer of a landlord or property manager, we’re on the hook for every maintenance and utility expense. A bitter winter forced us to spend over $1,000 on propane to heat the house, and nearly the same on unexpected plumbing and electrical issues. More space also means more spending on furniture and decorations, and Facebook marketplace is in low supply out here compared with NYC – another thing I miss dearly.

Overall, in the next five to 10 years, we’ve estimated spending $30,000 or more on home improvement on top of our mortgage. It sounds like a lot, but in New York I was paying $17,000 a year in rent without even getting a fixed-up house to show for it.

The politics in rural America aren’t exactly what you think

In NYC, I was very politically active and my values were a key factor in deciding where I could live in the future. Though it’s a rural state, Vermont is incredibly liberal and its residents young and old are highly engaged. Yet politics here are hyper-local and more practical than ideological, a change from NYC that I’ve come to appreciate.

Jessica Frisco
Black Lives Matter signs are everywhere in Vermont.

While I’ve only been here a few months, I’ve already gotten involved in some work on transitioning the town to renewable energy and improving safe police practices.

I was sad to give up the excitement of the big city and the sense that anything could happen at any time. Yet Vermont is stimulating in its own ways. I’ve been skiing and hiking more than ever before. I’m regularly chasing porcupines and other wildlife away from my dog, and driving down our dirt road often feels like an off-roading adventure.

Jessica Frisco
Axe throwing is one of our favorite new pastimes.

I’ve also come to realize that peace and quiet is not all that bad or boring; in fact, my ability to relax and concentrate has increased significantly, something I didn’t realize how badly I was lacking before the move.

Life in Vermont is challenging, in a good way

One of the things I loved most about NYC was being constantly challenged, whether it was hustling to get ahead at work or figuring out the quickest subway route. I was always trying to get ahead or get somewhere else. Out in the country, my fiancé and I still work hard, but in different ways, like figuring out how to get internet in the woods or working through an electrical outage.

Jessica Frisco
My fiancé cutting trees from our backyard to burn in the wood stove to heat the house.

We regularly use more power tools than I can count, and I have become an amateur tradesman who can start a generator, split a log, and replace a condensate neutralizer pump on an HVAC system. Now, with all the work and commitments I’ve put into my new home, it feels like I’m building a foundation for the long-term.

I’ve been lucky enough to keep my career, at least for now

Like many New Yorkers with an office job, the pandemic forced my company to go fully remote which allowed me to move while keeping my job. I’m able to work as a healthcare director from 9-to-5 remotely in our upstairs office room, across from my fiancé. My job may go back to being in-person a few days a month at some point; while the commute to the city will be long, it will give me a chance to visit and see friends.

Thinking about the long-term, the opportunities in my field local to Vermont are limited. It would be difficult to find a comparable job that wasn’t remote or based elsewhere in the Northeast. But living here has made me think about alternatives I never previously considered, especially given how friendly the state is to small business. Could I get into a trade, or open a retail store? Maybe one day.

A new happy place

Looking back on my anxieties prior to leaving the big city for a tiny town, I’m sure I was worried about losing a big piece of the identity I had created for myself in NYC: that of a hard worker with a packed schedule, up on culture and politics and surrounded by fascinating people. The move to Dummerston made me realize it was just as much about what I brought to a place as what the place offered me. My new town has all the foundational elements to make an engaging and excellent life here too, and I’m excited to have taken the leap.

In April, my fiancé and I went back to NYC for a friend’s birthday. The city seemed the same, but I no longer felt like investing in its endless opportunities. I’m sure I’ll be back for work and to visit friends and family, but from now on, my identity is a bit more centered in my happy place in Dummerston.

Jessica Frisco is a director at an NYC-based healthcare network. She is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Vermont is putting BIPOC people at the front of the vaccination line. Here’s why it’s a great idea.

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A medical worker prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Right now, a 30-year-old BIPOC Vermonter can get vaccinated, but a 30-year-old white Vermonter cannot.
  • This is just good public health policy in action, argues healthcare network director Jessica Frisco.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott recently announced that Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color over the age of 16 and their households can now get vaccinated for COVID-19. As of Tuesday, non-BIPOC Vermonters have to be 50 or older to get the vaccine.

Basically, a 30-year-old BIPOC Vermonter can get vaccinated right now, but a 30-year-old white Vermonter cannot.

The move has launched something of a moral panic among pundits, but a quick look at Vermont’s unique demographics and some basic understanding of public health explain why it’s actually a great idea.

Vaccine distribution plans, in Vermont and across the country, have prioritized the most vulnerable populations from the start. A quick look at the numbers reveals that giving early vaccine access to Vermont’s BIPOC population simply continues that strategy.

Vermont’s unique demographics

Vermont is the second-least populated state in the country. It’s also the whitest. With a population of only 630,000 people, 94% of whom are white, there are only about 36,000 BIPOC people in Vermont. New York City has over 4 million BIPOC individuals, about half its population. The US. in total is 76% white, so Vermont is demographically very unique in that sense.

Not only is the BIPOC population of Vermont small in absolute terms and in proportion to the white population, it’s also at higher risk. Vermont’s BIPOC live mostly in denser populated areas with the highest concentration in Burlington, Vermont’s biggest and hardest hit city.

Why vaccinating Vermont’s BIPOC population makes sense

Nationally, BIPOC populations are more likely to hold jobs as essential workers or in roles that increase their exposure to COVID-19. By far, Burlington has more cases than the rest of Vermont, and it’s known that Black Vermonters alone have the highest rates of COVID in the state.

Also, BIPOC populations consistently prove harder to reach with public health initiatives. These groups are less likely to have a primary care doctor who they feel comfortable calling up for an appointment. They face more significant transportation difficulties in getting to an appointment. And their initial hesitancy about the vaccine has been well-documented (though enthusiasm across racial and ethnic backgrounds continues to grow overall, as availability becomes more widespread).

This all bears out on the numbers we’re seeing for Vermont vaccination rates, with only 22% of BIPOC Vermonters vaccinated, versus 35% of the broader population.

Creating more opportunities for BIPOC people to get vaccinated will only help to protect these groups from their heightened risk from COVID-19.

Jessica Frisco
Jessica Frisco.

It’s not even that big of a deal

For white Vermonters under 50 years of age, the situation isn’t that dire. Starting April 5, all Vermonters 40 and older can get vaccinated. On April 12, all Vermonters age 30 and older get their turn. On April 19, all Vermonters aged 16 and up can get vaccinated.

Stripped of all the racial commentary, all Vermont has done is allow a small, at-risk population to get vaccinated a few weeks ahead of other healthy, younger people. In Vermont, where 90% of COVID-19 deaths have been people over 65, and 87.8% of that population is now vaccinated, it’s not as though truly vulnerable populations have been sidelined to allow minorities access to vaccinations.

Really, it’s just good public health policy in action.

Jessica Frisco is a director at an NYC-based healthcare network. She is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Ben & Jerry’s makes nearly 1 million pints of ice cream a day

  • Ben & Jerry’s is the best-selling single ice cream brand in the world.
  • It’s gained a cult following thanks to classic flavors like Half Baked and Cherry Garcia and a mission to use ice cream to fight for equality.
  • We visited the plant in St. Albans, Vermont, to see how Ben & Jerry’s pumps out nearly 1 million pints a day.
  • It takes hundreds of workers, special machinery, and a 24/7 operation to package up these pints.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcription of the video.

Narrator: Scooped up across 38 countries and up to 75 flavors, Ben & Jerry’s is no pint-sized operation. Its two Vermont factories run 24/7, operated by hundreds of flavor makers. Together, they pump out nearly a million pints a day, from classic flavors like Cherry Garcia and Half Baked to flavors on a mission for criminal-justice reform and refugee rights. And all those flavors have to be delicious.

Sarah Fidler: Our minimum run size, once we get a flavor to the factory, is 80,000 pints. So not only do we have to love it, but 80,000 fans have to love it too.

Narrator: We visited the St. Albans plant in northern Vermont to see how these famous pints flip their way to our freezers. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream in 1978. From a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, they launched a brand based on sustainable ice cream making and advocating for causes they believed in, and it worked. Today, Ben & Jerry’s is the best-selling single brand ice cream label in the US. To pump out its iconic flavors, first it starts with ingredients.

Ben & Jerry’s partners with 250 farms globally to source everything from vanilla bean to milk. Milk comes from the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, just a mile and a half from the factory. Once the milk’s at the plant, it heads to one of these massive, 6,000-gallon silos.

But before it can be made into ice cream, everyone involved has to suit up, including us. Gowns, hairnets, caps, and boots.

To make the ice cream base, the milk heads to the blend tank. Cream, milk, and lots of sugar are churned together. The factory goes through 6,700 gallons of cream every single day. Every ice cream flavor starts with either a sweet cream base or a chocolate base.

Next, the Mix Master will pour in eggs, stabilizers, and cocoa powder if it’s a chocolate base. Then it’s piped into the pasteurizer. You can’t see it happening, but hot steel plates are heating up the mix to kill any harmful bacteria. The newly pasteurized milk is stored in a tank for four to eight hours, so the ingredients can really get to know each other.

After making the two bases, they’ll head to one of the 20 flavor vats to get a flavor boost.

Fidler: We’re always coming up with new flavors, hundreds of flavors a year, and we usually narrow it down to about three or four. We really love to bring our social mission values into our naming process. For example, Empower Mint to talk about voting rights.

Narrator: Before Ben & Jerry’s famous chunks can be added, the mix has to get to below-freezing temperatures. It’s pumped through this giant freezing barrel, and when it gets to the front, it’s finally ice cream. Along the way, it’s quality tested, meaning lucky factory floor workers get to taste the ice creams.

Then it goes into the first of two freezer visits. When it comes out, it’s 22 degrees and somewhere between the consistency of a milkshake and soft serve.

Now for the best part, the chunks. Founder Ben actually didn’t have a great sense of smell, which meant he couldn’t taste much either. So his big thing was texture. That’s why Ben & Jerry’s has some of the biggest chunks in the ice cream industry. These chunks end up in flavors like Half Baked, Chubby Hubby, or the one we’re making, Chocolate Therapy.

Workers dump in add-ins through the Chunk Feeder, from brownie bites and cookie dough globs to chocolate chunks, fruits, and nuts. They let us give it a try, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Then it’s finally time to pack those pints. Workers stack the empty containers into the automatic filler. The machine drops the pints into position and perfectly pumps in ice cream. It can fill up 270 pints a minute. The pints are pushed towards the lidder and sealed tight.

At this point, six pints every hour are pulled off the line for quality testing. Quality assurance personnel first cut pints open. They’re making sure the ingredients are symmetrical and there aren’t any big air bubbles.

Worker: There is a small gap, but that’s what we call a functional void. If we saw large voids, it would be concerning. It’s actually quite the workout, as you can tell.

Narrator: They also measure the weight and volume of pints to ensure that the right amount of ice cream makes it into each container.

Worker: So, we know the weight of the ice cream, and anything below 460 is not passable.

Narrator: Now back to the factory line. It’s now time for the pints to take a second spin in the freezer. The ice cream has to get even colder, down to minus 10 degrees. The pints travel along the Spiral Hardener, a corkscrew-shaped conveyor belt inside a freezer. With the wind chill, it can get up to minus 60 degrees in there.

After three hours, the pints are finally frozen and ready to be packaged. They’re flipped over and shrink wrapped into groups of eight. Together, they make a gallon. But you’ll never actually see a gallon tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, because the company never wants its ice cream going bad sitting in the back of your fridge. Once the pints are packaged, they’re ready to be shipped across the globe.

Abby Narishkin: Hey, guys, my name’s Abby, and I’m one of the producers on this video. My favorite flavor is definitely Ben & Jerry’s Milk & Cookies, but let me know your favorites in the comments below and if you have any ideas for the next episode of “Big Business.” Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2020.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How real Vermont maple syrup is made

  • The Maple Guild in Island Pond, Vermont produces 1 million bottles of maple syrup each year.
  • It takes about 44 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of syrup. 
  • The Maple Guild pioneered a method called steam-crafting, which speeds up the production process.

Following is a transcription of the video.

Narrator: You’d never guess it, but tucked in this Vermont forest under a couple feet of snow is a giant maple-syrup farm. In fact, it’s the largest maple-syrup forest owned by a single-source producer in the world. But at The Maple Guild in Island Pond, Vermont, you won’t see guys in flannels carrying buckets of sap. OK, maybe you’ll see some flannel, but here, the art of sugaring is more like a science.

I think a lot of people look at maple syrup and they think of table syrup. They think of corn syrup. They think of some of the more popular things that they see on their shelves, right? And that’s not who we are or what we do. You can’t create this in a lab. This has to come from Mother Nature in the trees.

Narrator: Three Jersey boys founded The Maple Guild in 2013, and by 2015, they’d tapped their first maple tree. So the company may be young, but it’s not small. Today, it has almost half a million taps. That’s roughly 133 times as many as the average sugar maker in Vermont, and all those taps are on 24,000 acres of land. In the world of sugaring, that size forest is unheard of. So how exactly does The Maple Guild produce syrup on a macro scale? Well, it all starts with the trees.

These are sugar maple trees, and The Maple Guild has 460,000 of them spanning across the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and into Canada. Starting in December each year, crews spend two months putting plastic taps into each one of these trees by hand. The same tree can be tapped for decades.

Mike Argyelan: Next year, we reuse everything, and we tap 8 inches high or low and 8 inches over so that we never harm a tree. It always allows it to heal.

Narrator: The sugaring season usually runs from February to April, but that’s completely dependent on the weather forecast.

John Campbell: Obviously, when the weather cooperates, and when Mother Nature gives us sap to pull, and that’s when the temperature’s above freezing during the day and below freezing at night, that’s when the sap runs.

Narrator: When the sap is running, it’s extracted either through vacuum tubing or gravity. Six thousand miles of plastic tubing carry the sap from the trees to pump stations. These are called reverse-osmosis houses. This is where the sap is collected and the water in the sap is filtered out, leaving a high-sugar-content concentrate. Sap has 2% sugar, concentrate has 20% sugar, so what we’re doing in the reverse-osmosis process is we’re pulling water out of the sap and concentrating the maple syrup into another solution.

Narrator: Because so much water is removed during this process, it takes about 44 gallons of sap to make just 1 gallon of maple syrup. That sugar concentrate is loaded up into trucks and brought to the sugar house where it’s finally turned into maple syrup. In traditional sugaring techniques, turning sap into syrup means boiling it over direct heat so the water evaporates. But The Maple Guild pioneered a new method that speeds up the process. It’s called Steam-Crafting.

Instead of boiling the sap, it’s steam-heated at a lower temperature using coils. With this system, The Maple Guild can make 55 gallons of maple syrup in just 90 seconds, while in traditional boiling techniques, it can take anywhere between nine and 56 hours to produce just 1 gallon of syrup. Not only is the Steam-Crafting method quicker, but the company says it also produces a more nuanced maple flavor. Because sap can go bad quickly, it has to be transported to the sugar house within three hours of being tapped. And usually within six hours, it will become that golden maple syrup.

John: When the sap is running, it can run for a day, it can run for a week, and then it can stop for two days or three weeks, and it’s really whatever the weather gives us. But whenever that sap is running, we will have people at this plant 18, 24 hours a day nonstop while that sap is running because we can’t afford to lose any of it.

Narrator: Once the sap’s turned into syrup, it’s tested to make sure the sugar levels are right. Next, it’s sent through filters to remove impurities, and it’s tested for grading. The lighter the color of syrup, the higher the grade. Because The Maple Guild syrup has a short cooking time, it’s lighter in color, giving it a consistent grade A, golden rating.

The golden syrup is then pumped into stainless-steel barrels where it’s stored until it’s time to be bottled up. Each bottle is filled, capped, cleaned, and labeled by hand here. The company expects to fill over a million bottles this year. The Maple Guild is vertically integrated, meaning it owns every step of this process from tree to table.

Mike: The maple industry has been stagnant for decades upon decades upon decades. It’s all small farmers doing their own thing on their own property, selling to the big conglomerate operators, and those guys making syrup, mostly private labels, some branded, and selling it out to the industry until we came along. And we’re vertically integrated, we own the trees, right through the manufacturing. Very capital-intensive, which is probably the barriers to entry for anybody else to do this.

Narrator: In the last five years, the maple-syrup industry has undergone somewhat of a revolution, and at the forefront are companies like The Maple Guild. Canada has historically dominated this market, producing 70% of the world’s maple syrup, and while it still owns the top spot, the US is gaining ground. United States production has doubled in the last decade, rising from 1.9 million gallons produced in 2008 to 4.16 million in 2018, and leading the charge is Vermont. Dubbed the maple-syrup capital of the US, the tiny state produces 40% of the maple syrup in the entire United States. In fact, Vermont’s production has grown 254% since 2000.

So the market was set for a large-scale production, but no one in the Vermont maple industry had taken on the unconventional sugaring model until The Maple Guild. It entered the scene as demand was taking off. Breweries across the state had started using maple syrup in their products. Oversea interest in pure maple syrup had spiked, and Americans on a health-food kick were turning to maple syrup as a natural alternative to refined sugar. And The Maple Guild is still riding that wave, selling branded products across 50 states and infusing its syrups with flavors like coffee, pumpkin spice, and bourbon.

Abby Narishkin: You got original, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and salted caramel. It smells like the woods, which is where it came from. It tastes like sugar. I’m in.

Narrator: And while it all depends on what Mother Nature gives them, The Maple Guild does have an annual production goal.

John: Our goals are 150 to 200,000 gallons of maple syrup, we’d be OK with.

Narrator: The company’s not only bottling it up as syrup but using it in about 17 other maple-based products. First, there’s the maple butter. Maple syrup is cooked down and then poured into this mixer until it becomes a luscious cream. That stuff is cooked and jarred by hand and then hits the assembly line to be capped and labeled.

Abby: This is what I’ve been waiting for this whole time. Mmm. It’s like icing. That’s so good!

Narrator: There’s also naturally fermented maple vinegar, eight different maple-sweetened teas, and seven unique maple-sweetened waters. The Maple Guild hopes that by introducing maple into as many categories as possible, it can show the versatility of the product and bring attention to where the golden syrup comes from: here, in a Vermont forest.

Next up for The Maple Guild: kombucha, a kefir drinking water, and nitro coffee, all made from and sweetened by pure Vermont maple syrup.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in June 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden says he seriously considered Bernie Sanders for labor secretary, but couldn’t risk Senate control

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Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden talk before a Democratic presidential primary debate in February 2020.

  • President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that he strongly considered Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to be his labor secretary, but both men decided against the move after the dual Georgia runoff election wins gave Democrats control of the upper chamber.
  • “I did give serious consideration on nominating my friend Bernie Sanders to this position,” Biden said. “I’m confident he could have done a fantastic job. I can think of no more passionate, devoted ally to working people in this country.”
  • Biden ultimately tapped Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a close ally with strong ties to unions, to become his labor secretary.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden said on Friday that he strongly considered Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to be his labor secretary, but both men decided against the move after Democrats captured both US Senate seats in the Georgia runoff elections, giving the party control of the upper chamber.

Sanders, who was the last major candidate against Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary campaign, was a key surrogate for the president-elect in the run up to the November election.

“I did give serious consideration on nominating my friend Bernie Sanders to this position,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware. “I’m confident he could have done a fantastic job. I can think of no more passionate, devoted ally to working people in this country.”

He added: “But after Tuesday’s results in Georgia, giving Democratic control to the United States Senate and a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed – and as a matter of fact Bernie said – we can’t put control of the Senate at risk on the outcome of a special election in Vermont.”

Sanders is slated to lead the Senate Budget Committee in the 117th Congress.

Vermont has a Republican governor, Phil Scott, who was first elected in 2016 and reelected in 2018 and 2020. If Sanders had vacated his seat, it would have triggered a special election.

Read more: President-elect Biden expressed confidence his inauguration will be safe. A few hours later, Twitter warned there’s talk of another DC Capitol attack on January 17th.

Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeated GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the Georgia elections, respectively. After both men are seated, the Senate will be split 50-50, with Democrats controlling the chamber due to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.

Biden ultimately tapped Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a close ally with strong ties to unions, to become his labor secretary.

“This is one of the most important departments to me,” Biden said on Friday. “I trust Mayor Walsh and I’m honored he accepted.”

The president-elect stated that he and Sanders would “work together, travel the country together” to meet “with working men and women who feel forgotten and left behind in this economy.” 

He added: “We agreed that we will work closely on our shared agenda of increasing worker power and to protect the dignity of work for all working people.”

Read the original article on Business Insider