Arkansas Green Party US Senate candidate John Gray participated in a debate on Arkansas Educational Television with incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln, Republican John Boozman, and independent Trevor Brown.
Arkansas Green Party US Senate candidate John Gray has released an excellent campaign ad on youtube entitled “Think Outside the Box”. Gray is attracting widespread support from labor and progressives in a four-way race with Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln, Republican John Boozman, and conservative independent Trevor Drown. Here’s the video:
Democrat Blanche Lincoln and Republican John Boozman, winners of their parties’ primaries for this year’s US Senate race in Arkansas, will face Green Party candidate John Gray, retired engineer and current Mayor of Greenland, AR. Lincoln, a leading beneficiary of retail giant Wal-Mart who was supported in a close primary race by President Barack Obama, has drawn the ire of progressives for her opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act and her efforts to weaken health care reform.
John Gray, the Arkansas Green Party candidate, is running on a platform that includes: enacting a Medicare For All single payer health care system, ending corporate personhood, fixing trade to make America self-sufficient and eliminate the trade deficit, breaking up “too big to fail” corporations, and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Although polls have shown Sen. Lincoln trailing Boozman by a larger margin than her primary challenger, Lt. Governor Bill Halter, she still managed to overcome Halter in a runoff. Conservative independent Trevor Drown is also in the race.
SEIU president Mary Kay Henry has stated that her union would not back Lincoln even if she won the Democratic primary. In 2008, Arkansas Green US Senate candidate Rebekah Kennedy earned over 20% of the vote in a two-way race against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor. It will be interesting to see if Arkansas progressives and independents will support John Gray in his race with a conservative Republican, a conservative independent, and a Democrat who Firedoglake blogger Jane Hamsher has called a “radical corporatist”.
This afternoon, there were two attempts in the Senate Finance Committee to repair some of the damage done to health care reform by Chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat who has received a great deal of campaign finance from executives in the medical industry, and has accordingly crafted health care legislation designed in order to protect insurance companies. Two amendments attempted to reinsert a public option of government-established health care coverage, but both amendments were defeated by a coalition of Republicans and pro-industry Democrats.
Blanche Lincoln, senator from Arkansas, was among those Democrats who joined the Republicans to defeat meaningful health care reform. She voted against both amendments.
Physicist John Gray, one of Senator Lincoln’s constituents, says that he’s come to expect this kind of anti-progressive behavior from her. “I’m not at all surprised. She has a rather large campaign chest, almost half of which is from the medical industries,” Gray said this afternoon, responding to Lincoln’s votes against the public option. “The fact that she is loyal to her sponsors is not at all surprising.”
Unlike many Arkansas voters, who have learned to accept that they have little choice between the right wing Arkansas Republicans and the right wing Arkansas Democrats, Gray is taking action to ensure that, when Blanche Lincoln runs for re-election in 2010, voters will have the chance to vote for something different. Gray is running for the nomination of the Green Party of Arkansas to challenge Lincoln for her seat in Congress.
Gray says that he favors strong single payer health care reform, which would eliminate the waste that is inherent to the delivery of health care through insurance brokers. “Eliminate the health care insurance industry… and you would save enough money to cover every man woman and child in the United States,” Gray points out. “Nobody blinks an eyelash if we lay off 40,000 autoworkers, who actually produce something. These health insurance brokers, it’s hard to say what they produce.”
Look to hear more from Gray soon. His campaign web site is expected to be online within the week.
As reported here at Green Party Watch, speculation of a Green Senatorial campaign backed by organized labor in Arkansas has Greens there and across the nation buzzing at the prospect. Rebekah Kennedy, the Green Party standard bearer in 2008, won 20.5% of the vote with few financial resources.
Now John Gray has announced that he is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for the seat currently held by Blanche Lincoln. Gray, Mayor of Greenland, AR (population about 1000), is a former employee of the Atomic Energy Agency who became an anti-nuclear activist. He is also a former out-sourcing specialist who says that he helped move close to a thousand jobs out of the United States to Mexico. According to videos posted to Flickr, Gray became disgusted with the corporate greed he was dealing with and left when he was asked to help move these jobs from Mexico to China.