14

Prairie Green Party in Illinois Announces Three Local Candidates

The Prairie Green Party, which ran three candidates for the Champaign County Board last fall, has announced three candidates this Spring for Urbana municipal offices.

Just as with the County Board races last fall, they are running on a strong local platform that address local needs and local issues.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 12, 2008

GREEN CANDIDATES FILE FOR URBANA MUNICIPAL OFFICE

URBANA, IL – Three Green Party candidates for Urbana municipal office filed their paperwork today: Durl Kruse for mayor, Mark Mallon for alderman in Ward 2, and Gary Storm for alderman in Ward 7. This is the first time that the Green Party has placed candidates on the ballot for city office in Urbana, although the party has run candidates for Champaign County Board during the last three campaign cycles. The candidates will work to increase citizen participation and transparency in local government, improve social services, address criminal justice issues, and strengthen environmental policies.

The Green Party ran more candidates from Urbana than the Republicans for the Champaign County Board in 2008 and are anticipated to do the same for Urbana municipal office in 2009. Kruse, Mallon, and Storm have support from individual Greens and are expected to be endorsed at the local Prairie Greens meeting this Monday. The candidates will work with the party to develop a local platform regarding municipal issues. The party has already held a public meeting for input on a local platform and will consider suggestions raised by the community. The candidates for municipal office hope to expand upon this community involvement and consideration while running and serving in office.

“We want to foster discussion among the community about municipal issues both during and after the election through forums, canvassing, and other outreach efforts. The public needs to be more engaged in the community process and the government has a responsibility to spur this participation. In addition to looking to the citizens for their opinions on current municipal issues, we’d like to hear their thoughts on issues that aren’t currently being addressed or even discussed by the city, ” said Kruse.

Mallon is especially concerned about urban sprawl and wants to revitalize downtown Urbana. “We can’t keep building out the way we are doing. Not only does it cost a lot of money in gas to drive to stores on the edge of town, but the expanding development also destroys our local farmland, which is a very valuable resource. We can improve the sense of community and reduce environmental impact by encouraging local businesses in the city core, rather than big box stores in the perimeter of town. ” he said.

The candidates are also interested in addressing issues of social justice. “Although Urbana has made some progress in social justice issues, particularly in the establishment of a Citizens Police Review Board, there is much room for improvement,” said Storm. “The most evident example is the mayor’s proposed nuisance ordinance, which would be detrimental to minorities, low-income residents, and students. Landlords and other tenants would also be punished for the activities of tenants committing criminal acts, rather than the individuals themselves. There are better ways to address these issues, including mobilization of the affected citizens.”

Prairie Greens of East Central Illinois

http://www.prairiegreens.org

Illinois Green Party

http://www.ilgp.org

CONTACT:

Tom Abram
Press Officer, Prairie Greens
217.417.7118
press@prairiegreens.org

Durl Kruse
Candidate, Mayor of Urbana
217.328.2789
jandurl@comcast.net

Mark Mallon
Candidate, Urbana Alderman, Ward 2
618.972.7873
mmallon2@yahoo.com

Gary Storm
Candidate, Urbana Alderman, Ward 7
217.390.6576
gary_jamie@hotmail.com

Ronald Hardy

14 Comments

  1. The Prairie Greens didn’t run any municipal candidates in 2007. We’ve only run federal, state, and county board candidates.

    These city council races and the Mayor race are ripe for some potential wins and for some good party building.

    Urbana is pretty much a one-party town with all the seats held by Dems and one Rep. So this is fertile ground for us Greens I think to become the second party and eventually the ruling party. I think the dynamics of these races will by interesting. I also think that campaigning during the wintery months of January and February will be difficult too for our canvassers.

  2. It’s good to announce early and build a base, even if you’re focusing on identifying local organizers who will campaign for you closer to the election. If you don’t get a foot in the door early the media will assume that only Democrats and Repubs are in the race, and the perception will spread of a 2-way horse race, leaving little room for a Green to break in.

  3. Are the Illinois local races partisan or non-partisan? Our Wisconsin local races in the Spring are all non partisan.

  4. Almost all municipal races in IL are non-partisan I believe. Urbana is the exception along with a few others.

    County level races (in November) are partisan in IL.

  5. @Ross

    Nov 2008:
    Champaign County Board 7: Walter Pituc – 1,367 – 12.8% – 4th out of 5 (2 seats up, 2 Dems, 2 Rep, 1 Green)
    Champaign County Board 8: Joe Futrelle – 1,730 – 31.6% – 2nd out of 2 (vs. Dem incumbent.)
    Champaign County Board 9: Mike Lehman – 2,604 – 31.8% – 2nd out of 2 (vs. Dem incumbent)

    Note: These County Board races are different government bodies than the city council races up. So that dynamics will be MUCH different between the two.

  6. Our County Board candidates whose districts were primarily in Urbana, Joe Futrelle and Mike Lehman, received about 31% of the vote in two way races against Democrats. Our third candidate, Walter Pituc, got about 13% in a five way race for two seats, beating a Republican. I anticipate we’ll do better than that in these races (maybe a win) since they’re in relatively progressive wards. Both city council districts are open seats (although one of the candidates was recently appointed). I also believe Obama voters hurt our local candidates. A lot of first time voters who voted straight ticket Dem – there wasn’t much coverage of the local races – even though we ran stronger campaigns. These races have very low turnouts, so we’ll have to really make a push to get the voters out. We’ve collected data from canvassing about where Green leaning voters reside, which will be helpful for initial campaigning and GOTV efforts. It’s already come in handy for petitioning. We’ve really improved our attempts to pass on knowledge and sweat from previous campaigns to future ones. Hopefully it pans out.

  7. An article in the Urbana-Champaign News-Gazette says that in addition to Kruse and the D incumbent, there is also a Repub candidate. At least in the Malik Rahim race, the local media seized on the little-known Republican challenger and treated him as the only alternative to the unpopular Democratic incumbent. This race looks to have a different dynamic, and this first story from the News-Gazette shows some promise that the media won’t be as biased against the Greens here. I also like that Kruse has been an advocate of instant-runoff voting.
    However, it’s become clear to me that people who are accustomed to voting D or R tend to see candidates from outside that box as a threat to their interests; in NOLA, for example, Malik Rahim was viewed alternately as helping to reelect Jefferson or helping a Republican to win – not enough people simply viewed him as the great candidate he was. It’s important to come up with good talking points about why voting Green is worth doing and in the voter’s interest. Including something like instant-runoff voting in the platform shows that Greens are serious about the problem of people winning elections without mandates and, unlike Democrats, we are willing to solve it. From what I’ve seen, Illinois Greens are good at reaching out to new voters and broadening their appeal, so I’m confident that the Prairie Greens can make an impact in these races.

  8. Thanks for the explanations, and good luck to everyone. If you have any news about this, I’d be happy to post it at indpoliticalreport.com (click my name if you don’t know what it is).

    The Illinois Greens seem to be a moderately successful party. Do they have any elected officials?

  9. I agree with John. Very honest and straightforward analysis. That’s unusual for Green post-electoral discussions – more often it’s blaming the usual suspects , conspiracy theories , only if, delusional thinking, etc. – anything but the truth. Of course, for the most part green campaigns are staffed by political amateurs who have not benefited from working with and learning from a professionally-run, winning campaign so it’s to be expected. I contribute almost exclusively to Green campaigns where there is a (real) possibility of winning. Hopefully, Malik will be able to use the name recognition, experience and orgnization to make a viable run for a city office that is winnable and get a start there.

  10. Mark, don’t listen to that shit, filter it out. It’s a usual cast of characters still grinding an old ax. Learn their names and ignore them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.