Art Goodtimes (Colorado) Wins Re-Election to County Commissioner Post

Art Goodtimes won his re-election to San Miguel County Commissioner District 3, Colorado. He finished first of three candidates with 1,746 votes or 42.37 %. This is a partisan office, four year term.

From his website:

Art Goodtimes of Norwood is described on Thunderbear website thusly: A poet of quiet truths and epic hopes, a dream-spinner whose heart is made of Earth, fire, stone, water. He grew up in the embrace of San Francisco and has walked many paths. This artist, author, poet-performer, bioregionalist, paleohippie, Green county commissioner, husband, father, fungiphile, and basket weaver is hooked on heirloom spuds and southwest wind. He is the creator of Talking Gourds, a traveling tribal poetry feast, and runs the Telluride Mushroom Festival as poet-in-residence.

Goodtimes was recently featured in an article in the Colorado Statesman about the Colorado Green Party which illustrated the philosophical differences within the Green Party about whether it should focus on high profile (Congressional, legislative, etc.) races versus local races. Goodtimes, as a 16 year veteran as an elected Green on the San Miguel County Commission, strongly supports the local position in the argument. (I myself was elected to my County Board, so I can respect where he is coming from.)

Ronald Hardy


  1. Art Goodtimes himself was first elected to the office of county commissioner as a Democrat. He ran for re-election as an incumbent after switching to the Green Party. This was in a small, rural, and heavily Democratic county. Running under the Green Party banner is, in reality, a liability rather than an asset if your goal is to get elected. Unfortunately, if you want to get elected to a partisan office, you have an infinitely better chance of success if you run as a Democrat rather than a Green. Choosing the Green Party is a statement of principle, rejecting the corruption of the two corporate parties. It’s good to run Green Party candidates at all levels: local, county, state and federal.

    Most of the Green Party candidates who have been elected to public office in the United States have been elected to small, local, non-partisan offices. That means that the label “Green Party” did not appear next to their name on the ballot.

    Out of four candidates nationally with the ballot designation “Green Party” who have ever been elected to state legislature seats, three of them were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time when the Democratic candidate was publicly disgraced through scandal. Two of these three Greens became the only legal candidates when their opponents were disqualified from the ballot. Only one state legislator (John Eder, Maine) who was elected with the designation “Green Party” ever served a full term as a Green (he served two). The others two previously elected Green Party legislators switched their party affiliation within a few months after being elected as Greens. (Fred Smith in Arkansas has just become the fourth person elected as a Green Party state legislator.)

    Running campaigns isn’t just about running in elections that we can win. It is about getting the message out. If you only want to run campaigns that you can win, there is no point to having a Green Party in the United States, and no point in running as a Green. The election system in the United States is rigged against minor party and independent candidates from start to finish.

    The necessary first step to creating a viable Green Party in the United States would be to change the voting system so that legislators are elected by a party list system of true proportional representation. This could be done at the level of state legislatures through the ballot initiative process.

    Green Party candidates have been elected to national parliaments in dozens of other countries because they use party list systems of proportional representation, not the archair winner-take-all voting system used in the United States.

    Gary Swing
    Colorado Green Party candidate for US Representative 2010 and 2012

    • The last sentence above should have said “archaic winner-take-all voting system,” not “archair.”

  2. and i strongly disagree with gary. winning one or two or even five percent of the vote isn’t winning, it’s losing. and i do not want to see the american green party become another third party of losers.

    of course running as a green is a liability. of the 4000 voters in my county, less than a hundred are registered green. and that percentage holds across colorado and the nation, more or less.

    so, our response? do what minor parties have always done? run as many candidates for as many national, state and local races as you can scare up, and lost most of them? that seems like a failed strategy to me. socialists have done that for over a hundred years. and i don’t see folks flocking to that party.

    i’m all for changing election laws, but i don’t see any groundswell of citizens calling for that. so in the meantime, what should we do?

    if the greens want to matter in winner-take-all elections (all comparisons with systems that allow proportional representation is silly — the system is skewed against third parties in america, so we have to figure a way to deal with it), we need to find dems and independent progressive leaders who resonate with our key values but need a platform for getting political power. rather than running green party “unknowns”, we need to solicit progressive leaders to become greens. or get dems to change parties. or run greens in local elections, like they do up in duluth where david conley has been re-elected more times than i have. we need to build leadership from within the party by starting at the grassroots, not going for the media top of the ballot.

    finally, the reason i win as a green in a heavily democratic county (where the party apparatus uses as many dirty tricks as they can to unseat me) is because i have worked very hard at proving to local citizens that greens can govern, not just spout rhetoric about what they believe. governance is very different from campaigning. it’s not enough to have someone run for an office 1) if they are not qualified or 2) capable or 3) able to govern well.

    yes, i first got elected as a dem, but i’d been part of the bioregional movement since 1974 and the circles of correspondence during the ’80s. my experience of the green party in the ’90s was a debating society — not a political party capable of getting its candidates into office. i changed to green in my second year of office because the colorado green party gained ballot access in 1998. and i’ve been re-elected as a green (it says Green Party next to my name on the ballot) four times now.

    not because i’m a green. as gary says, that’s a liability. but because i’m a green who knows how to govern for the majority — which is the task of an elected official, whatever one’s party.

    it’s time the american green party paid heed to its first key value — and started working at the grassroots rather than being seduced in state and national races by our media circus.

    the honorable art goodtimes

  3. If the Green Party want to keep growing it need to advertise more. so I ask that all fellow Green Party supporters spend one day a week helping advertise by distributing flyers and talking to people. We need to advertise more.

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