Green candidate joins Louisiana special congressional election

p eliot barronFrom the Monroe News Star:

Eliot Barron admits the Green Party’s roots haven’t yet taken hold in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, but he believes his candidacy can resonate with a diverse landscape of voters.

“We’ve got 175 self-identified (Green Party members) in the 5th District,” said Baron, 38, a Realtor and former U.S. Army medic who lives in New Orleans. “Those are grass blades instead of grassroots.

“But I believe what had been an alternative choice in the Green Party is an essential choice now.”

Though Barron doesn’t live within the district — residency isn’t a requirement to run forCongress — he sees the race as a chance to spread his political message.

“As what’s happening in (Washington) shows, we’re in a clear crisis,” Barron said. “We’re beyond an impasse, and it’s time we sent a clear message that this just won’t do.”

Barron said the Green Party is one of the oldest “third parties” with its roots in the environmental movement.

“You’ve seen the fruits of that history in more widespread sustainability,” he said.

But Barron said the Green Party’s platform isn’t narrow despite its name.

“Our pillars are social justice, peace, sustainability and grassroots democracy,” he said.

Barron said he, like many Republicans, doesn’t approve of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but for different reasons than many conservatives.

“I don’t think it goes far enough,” he said. “The real problem with Obamacare is that it’s insufficient.”

Barron believe instead of mandating Americans obtain private insurance as the Affordable Care Act requires, there should be a federally operated health care system like Medicare for everyone.

“I would have advocated for a single pay system,” he said. “My health care is provided by the (Veterans Administration), and I really appreciate the quality of the care I get. Everyone should have that opportunity.”

Barron said rather than focusing on new environmental initiatives if he reaches Congress, “I will focus on things already well underway with sustainability.”

Barron said he is spending his time “learning the district, and I’ve found a level of acceptance and support from the people that I’ve truly appreciated.”

The special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Ruston, is scheduled Oct. 19. Alexander resigned to take a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s cabinet.

Other candidates include: independent Tom Gibbs of Fairbanks; Henry Herford of Delhi, a Libertarian; Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, R-Forest Hill; state Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe; Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat; Vance McAllister, R-Monroe; state Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe; state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia; former state Rep. Weldon Russell, D-Amite; Phillip “Blake” Weatherly, R-Calhoun; independent Peter Williams of Lettsworth; and S.B.A. Zaitoon of Baton Rouge, a Libertarian.

Dave Schwab

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