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A True Outsider

A True Outsider

Article written by John Walters of Sevendays

A True Outsider

Brad Peacock is everything your typical U.S. Senate candidate is not. He grew up in a poor family in southeastern Vermont and works as a farmhand in his hometown of Shaftsbury. At 37, he’d be one of the youngest people in Congress. He’s gay, and there’s never been an openly gay man in the Senate. (Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is the only openly lesbian senator.) He’s running as an independent.

And he claims a campaign bankroll of $500.

With all that going for him, Peacock aims to challenge the very popular Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who’s universally expected to seek reelection this year.

“Quixotic” seems too mild a word.

Politically, Peacock claims to track “fairly closely” with Sanders. “He’s a very progressive person. He’s helped veterans a lot. He’s an advocate for the poor,” Peacock said. So why does he want to replace a living legend?

“I believe strongly in term limits. Twelve years is enough time in the Senate,” he said. “Also, I believe that the people of Vermont deserve a full six years. If Bernie runs for president [in 2020], he will not be there for six years.”

Peacock foresees a low-budget campaign relying on word of mouth and “kitchen table talks, where people open up their homes, share a meal and talk about the issues,” he said.

Still, Peacock faces long odds at best. Why run?

“I think there’s real value for an everyday person to run for office and to be heard,” he said. “I’ve gotten a really strong reaction from people who say that’s important and from young people who say, ‘You’ve inspired me.'”

Peacock has a compelling personal story. His family often relied on public assistance when he was growing up. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in the late ’90s, and there he realized he was gay. That got him bounced from the military. He returned to his hometown, where he works on Clear Brook Farm. His husband, James Crews, is a widely published poet.

Yep, he definitely brings a fresh perspective to the campaign.


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