kat swift on the Texas Green Party

This interview was posted at the San Antonio Current – and is a great read. kat swift is the heart and soul of the Texas Green Party and a 2008 candidate for President.

Kat Swift on the evolution of the Texas Green Party
By Greg Harman

A debilitating car accident has relegated one of the Green Party’s key organizers (some would, and have, called her the party’s conscience) to the sidelines this election cycle after several years of full-throttle ballot efforts. Fittingly, Kat Swift had been registering voters at Bexar County jail when another driver ran a red light and struck her vehicle last April. Several months passed before she discovered the full impact the accident had taken on her spine, a message arriving with crippling back pain. Swift first ran for San Antonio’s City Council in 2007. In 2010, she mounted a campaign against Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo and locked up 20 percent of the vote as a Green Party candidate. And while today she spends most of her hours perched on an adjustable hospital bed at her West Side home, Swift has continued to be a force for developing and propelling new candidates as an at-large member of the party’s state executive committee. This week, she spoke to the Current about the state of the party, wayward Libertarians, and the surge of energy the Occupy movement has meant for Greens in Texas.

For more information about her injury or how you can help, see savekat.chipin.com. — Greg Harman

So give me the talk. I’m that independent voter at the bar, or I think I am, and my reaction is, ‘What? The Green Party? Isn’t that bunch that killed Al Gore?’

I get so sick of that propaganda and lies. The people who’ve done their research have said that more Democrats in Florida voted for Bush than people voted for Nader, for one. Two: Al Gore won the popular vote and he did nothing to stand up for himself. Three: He couldn’t hold his own against Bush in a debate, he lost his home state, and the people who went and voted for Nader most likely would not have voted for Gore at all. So you can’t take those votes and say, ‘These people would have voted for Gore.’ I wouldn’t have voted for Gore. There’s no fucking way you could have gotten me to vote for Gore. And the Supreme Court decided the election; it wasn’t the vote.

Most people who vote Green are either former apathetic voters or they’re third party all the way and they vote strategically.

Bring me forward then. 2010: that was the year there was Republican money helping the Greens get on the ballot. What got lost in the reporting on that effort?

That’s what they said. The fact is, we got no money from anybody. The petition company got money to run a petition drive, and I oversaw that. We needed 47,000 signatures from people who didn’t vote in the primaries and were already registered to vote — and 92,000 people signed that damn petition in two weeks.

The Republicans paid the petition company and I worked with the petition companies and they gave us the petition. They gave us correctly collected signatures from people who wanted to see the Green Party on the ballot. Then it turned out the nonprofit they were using was actually incorporated, even though they told us they weren’t. But by that time the signatures were property of the state. … But, at this point, the whole issue is moot, because that only put us on the ballot in 2010. That’s it. In order to be on the ballot this year, we had to get 5 percent in a statewide race. In 2010, we got 6.34 percent in the Comptroller’s race and those 252,000 people who voted for the Green Party candidate. So we’re on the ballot because of 252,000 voters. That’s it
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Free and Equal, Texas Green Party issue joint statement on ballot access petition controversy

Free and Equal and the Green Party of Texas have issued a joint statement on the media reports concerning the state party’s ballot access petition drive and Free and equal’s involvement in making it happen.

Free and Equal Issues Statement in Response to Recent Texas Media Reports

Free and Equal Elections is proud to stand next to the Green Party of Texas today to release this joint statement concerning Texas media reports involving Boyd Ritchie’s anti-democratic attack on the Green Party’s recent petition drive in Texas.

The statement from Free and Equal Founder and Chair Christina Tobin follows:

“Boyd Ritchie’s anti-democratic and anti-choice actions are shameful for a party leader. Free and Equal is a non-partisan organization that helps all parties, and Ritchie appears to have gone hysterical because a Green got on the Texas ballot this week. Ballot access and campaign finance are two completely different things. Ritchie is acting like a hot-headed party boss, not a party leader who deserves respect.”

“In Ritchie’s attempt to inflict harm on the Green Party, he will also harm voters by reducing their choices on Election Day. It’s a shame he would go to such lengths to keep a candidate from running, just because they aren’t a member of his party.” Continue Reading


What’s the Matter With Texas?

The following is an editorial, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Green Party of the United States or Green Party Watch.

This week it was revealed that:
a) a Republican consultant in Arizona arranged for…
b) a non-profit corporation in Missouri to pay $200,000 for…
c) a petitioning company “Free & Equal” to collect 92,000 signatures and…
d) give them as a gift to the Green Party of Texas to get a slate of candidates on the ballot.

Are Democrats pissed? You betcha. They are suing the Texas Green Party, Free & Equal, and “Take Initiative America” to delay the balloting of Green Party candidates until they can determine the source of the funding, and they are pointing fingers at Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The Green Party of Texas is cooperating by agreeing to delay submitting their slate of candidates until the courts rule on the matter. kat swift, State Coordinator of the Green Party of Texas, has been reported saying that they believe the petition drive was legal, but will wait for written assurance of that fact. swift also said that once the petition drive is determined to be legal, the Green Party of Texas will field a slate of candidates regardless of what individual funded the petition drive.
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Texas Greens hand in 93,000 signatures

Ben Philpott reports at KERA in Dallas:

Texas is considered one of the hardest states in the country for a third-party or independent candidate to get onto the ballot. The stringent ballot access laws have been one reason why the Texas Green Party hasn’t been on the ballot since 2002. But as KUT’s Ben Philpott reports – party activists hope that dry spell ends in 2010.

There were no TV cameras Monday in front of the Texas Secretary of State’s office building south of the Capitol. No crowd of cheering supporters. But statewide coordinator Kat Swift with the Green Party of Texas says the dozen or so boxes filled with signed petitions spoke louder than a roaring crowd.

Swift: “And we have with us – 93-thousand petitions roughly of Texas voters who did not vote in the primary – who want to see the Green Party on the ballot.”

Read the full story at KERA Dallas.


Texas Green Party announces successful petition drive

From the Green Party of Texas:

Green Party of Texas to Hold Press Conference

Turning in of Over 90,000 Petition Signatures
to Secretary of State on Monday

Monday, May 24, 2:00 p.m.
Signatures will be turned in immediately after the press conference.

Outside the Secretary of State’s office, Rusk Building
208 East 10th Street, 3rd Floor, Austin

The Green Party of Texas will turn in over 90,000 signatures on Monday, in an effort to get the Party on the General Election ballot this November. If accepted, this will be the first time the Green Party has had ballot access since 2002. Continue Reading


Texas Greens collecting online signatures, hiring petitioners for ballot access

The Texas Green Party has launched an online ballot access signature drive in an effort to collect the thousands of signatures required by law to place Green candidates on the ballot. If the TX Greens succeed in collecting over 40,000 needed signatures by May 22nd, their 18 declared candidates for office will appear on the ballot this November. Also, since the Texas Democratic Party has no candidate for comptroller this year, it’s likely that the Green candidate for comptroller would earn at least 5% of the vote, thereby gaining ballot access for the Green Party through 2012.

Help the Texas Green Party give voters a choice: sign and share the online petition.

In related news, the Texas Greens have started hiring paid petitioners to gather signatures on the ground before the May 22nd deadline. From the Texas Green Party facebook page:

Get paid to petition to put Green Party in Texas – contact Sean Haugh at 919-402-3489 – start asap!
…and make sure you tell kat you are so we can ensure you are on our list too! – kat@txgreens.org

Green for Greens: Deborah Shafto, Don Cook, and Alfred Molison for Houston City Council

In Texas’ largest city, three Greens are making a team effort to get elected to Houston City Council. Deborah Shafto, Don Cook, and Alfred Molison are running as “The Progressive Coalition”, with a platform focused on public transportation, recycling, living wage, issue advocacy, policing, and public safety. They hope to guide Houston to a less car-centered future, introduce neighborhood programs like farmers’ markets and community gardens, implement a plan to reduce landfill waste by 90% by 2040, enact a citywide living wage, move to a medically-focused (rather than criminally-focused) drug policy, and convince the city council to voice support for the single-payer bill HR 676.

Deborah Shafto, Don Cook, and Alfred MolisonTexas, the second most populous state after California, has been hard for the Green Party to get a foothold in. Texas Greens briefly gained ballot status in 2000, but lost it and haven’t managed to get back on the statewide ballot since then. However, Green locals in Texas have remained active, and Kat Swift of San Antonio ran for the Green presidential nomination in 2008. Support for candidates like Deborah Shafto, Don Cook and Alfred Molison will strengthen Green locals in Texas, helping the Texas Greens build the organizational capacity to take on challenges like getting back on the ballot and promoting a clean energy future in the heart of America’s oil industry.

As part of their team effort, Shafto, Cook and Molison are sharing all funds they raise equally. You can help this trailblazing Green campaign to succeed, and promote Green growth in Texas, by donating to Deborah Shafto, Don Cook, and Alfred Molison today at their website progressivecoalitionhouston.com.

If you prefer to donate by mail, write a check payable to “Progressive Coalition” and send to:

Progressive Coalition
c/o Mary Cook
7954 Glenheath St.
Houston TX 77061

Please include a completed contribution form so that we can fulfill our disclosure reporting requirements.


Fixing Green Party Watch Radio

Well, last week I interviewed Richard Carroll. As mentioned in an earlier post, I was unable to get the system to work properly, and the show was almost unlistenable. Some brave souls did though, so I decided there was enough interest that I needed to fix the problem.

I learned how to edit my audio a little bit and the result is a new version of my interview with Richard, and this one is better for sure. You can listen to the new version by clicking here

The most popular show so far was my interview with kat swift. To listen to that one, simply click here.

Today’s program featured Holly Hart, GPUS national Secretary. We talked about Iowa, her run for Lt. Governor, ballot access and so much more. You can listen to that program by visiting this “featured” show.

I learned from the editing process. I learned that I talk too much and don’t add a lot. I’m getting better folks. Soon hopefully all you’ll hear from me is “Our guest today is…” followed by thirty minutes on them talking about things that interest you.