Here I blog – Chicago Coffee shop convention
True, the GPUS Convention doesn’t have wireless on site, but the coffee shop on the corner does so here I sit with notes among the trains, buses, pigeons and millions of people. Greens are wondering by all the time, making it hard to get something posted.
Cynthia McKinney showed up at the hotel a few minutes ago looking very happy. Gail “for Rail” Parker is hanging around the delegate credentialling table looking for someone to nominate her from the floor. Last night there was a party/fund raiser for Jesse Johnson, Kat Swift and Kent Mesplay at Weeds Tavern nearby. Delegates and others are still rolling in today.
More below the fold
I got in late on Thursday on the train from Kenosha but caught a few receptions Thursday night, one led by Illinois Gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, who introduced several candidates for Congress around Illinois. Steve Alesch and Rodger Jennings both spoke briefly. There is definitely a LOT of excitement in Illinois about their fifty plus candidates across the state.
The 9 a.m. press conference with congressional candidates was moderated by Brenda Konkel of Madison, WI, a seven year Green elected on the Madison Common Council, who pointed out that there are over 230 Greens currently serving in elected office, and how Greens on the Madison Common Council passed a “living wage” ordinance in Madison that was later overturned by the State.
Bob Kinsey, US Senate candidate in Colorado, spoke first. He is a retired UCC Minister and history teacher. A veteran of the USMC, he has a son-in-law in Iraq, and opposition to the war is one of his main issues. Kinsey comes across as a very capable candidate. Regarding the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer, Kinsey noted that individual Greens are involved in the planned protests in Denver, where designated perimeters have been set up for ‘official protesters’.
Omar Lopez, US. House, 4th CD, spoke about spreading the Green Party to the Hispanic Community. Lopez organized the Chicago “Mega-Marches” that later spread across the country. Immigration policy is a significant part of his campaign, as well as giving the Hispanic community a home and a voice with the Green Party. Lopez is a very well known and respected leader in the immigration community in Chicago and has the potential to make a big impact in November.
Rebekah Kennedy, Senate candidate in Arkansas, spoke about giving voters a choice. In Arkansas there would be no choices for voters for Congress this year if it were not for the Green Party, where no Dems are challenging Reps, and no Reps are challenging Dems. The obvious “collusion” between Dems and Reps looks like “Soviet style one-party” politics in Arkansas. Kennedy noted that her opponent, Democrat Mark Prior, has been supporting the war for six years.
Jason Wallace, Illinois candidate for the 11th district CD, noted that he is running in one of the top five competitive races in America. Wallace noted that his campaign is committed to run for ten thousand dollars only, 10K in 08, versus the multimillion dollar campaigns his Republican and Democrat opponents are working with. Education is probably his number one issue, and he has seen first hand the impact of underfunded education on middle class families. Wallace is also a member of Veterans for Peace, attended Winter Soldier, Wallace was serving in the Iraq “Occupation”. The war is obviously a big issue for Wallace. Wallace also wants to make his district in Illinois a leader in the production of “green manufacturing”.
Also present was Steve Fournier, CT, Steve Alesch, IL, John Millieta, TN, John Wages, MS, Peter Myers, CA, Rodger Jennings, IL, Scott Summers, IL, Richard Duffy, CT, Deberah McFarland, and Bob Schafer. I’m probably butchering some names, sorry.
Scott Summers, an Illinois U.S. House candidate, gave a great statement about how Democrats and Republicans blame the American people for the problems in the economy instead of taking the blame for the problems they themselves caused with fiscally irresponsible policies.
John Millieta spoke about his campaign briefly, he is on the ballot in TN as an Independent because to run as a third party in Tennessee would have required over 40,000 signatures. Millieta noted that Tennessee Greens are working with state Libertarians and Constitution Party members to try to overturn these restrictive ballot access laws in Tennessee.
Richard Duffy noted that the “spoiler” issue could be removed entirely by implementing Instant Runoff Voting. He points out that the Democrats and Republicans have taken no interest in IRV, which indicates that they actually *prefer* the so-called “spoiler issue” as a tool to marginalize third parties. Rebekah Kennedy echoed that sentiment, stating that the Democrats would rather lose an election to the Republicans then give the Green Party any kind of equal treatment on the ballot.
I will post more as soon as I have anything interesting. There has been mixed reaction to the Rosa Clemente VP announcement (that I still haven’t heard is “official” but everyone seems to be assuming it is). My outdoor corner of the coffee shop is turning into a Green Party “meet and greet” with all the greens stopping around to visit with each other.