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.

5 Comments

  1. deesings said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    Hi Ron! Whew! Glad all is o.k. :-)

    Thanks for the update. I’ll look forward to more….

  2. Colin Young said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

    Rosa is as official as it could be – Cynthia and Rosa were working the room together at one of the receptions last night. There were rumours of a press conference today – maybe at 1pm? no details or confirmation on that, tho.

  3. tim said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    Yep. Colin’s right. Rosa released this statement yesterday:
    “I am honored and excited to accept this invitation to run with Cynthia McKinney. Cynthia McKinney is a hero to me and many others across this country and around the world for her courage in standing up to George Bush while the Democratic Party establishment caved.

    “This campaign is the opportunity the Hip-Hop generation has been working for. This is our time to address the issues affecting our communities – rising unemployment, the high cost of food and housing, a lack of quality public education and access to higher education, the prison-industrial complex, and unaccountable corporate media. These issues are not being addressed by either the Republican or Democratic nominee.

    “I choose to do this, not for me, but for my generation, my community and my daughter. I don’t see the Green Party as an alternative; I see it as an imperative. I trust that my Vice Presidential run will inspire all people, but especially young people of color, to recognize that we have more then two choices. Together, we can build the future we’ve been dreaming of.”

    Hip-Hop artist M1 says, “I’ve never voted in the Presidential election; I’ve never felt strongly enough about a candidate to. Knowing that Rosa Clemente is down with Cynthia McKinney’s run, I feel that now is the greatest opportunity for the Hip-Hop community to put our collective strength and power to the test and vote for someone who represents who we are and what we stand for.”

  4. joni said,

    July 11, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

    I LOVE Cynthia’s Choice!
    Good to get some news from you Ron! Keep us
    posted as often as you can, but enjoy yourself as
    well!
    We should have a place for you to compile a list of what delegates like and don’t like while it’s impacting them…obviously onsite wireless would be a BIG plus in the future! Perhaps an ANM photo blogger who could come by and have other bloggers standing by with a computer ready to blog and upload pictures as well? ANM Blogging committee could have a rep to the ANM to express what would help connect the grassroots to the anm’s! Perhaps even have some live feed and voting, tho off in the future, i’d be happy if i could just see some snaps and bits of videos here and there, along with various bloggers…
    be cool to have one on the sign in table with people able to do a shout out, could also have a sign up sheet or a freelance blog when you’ve got 10 min. to spare….

  5. Ronald Hardy said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 1:29 am

    I agree completely!

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