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2014 campaigns highlight growing diversity of Green Party

Green Party campaigns in 2014 made a splash, from Howie Hawkins’ historic result in New York to Gayle McLaughlin’s triumph over a Chevron-funded challenge in Richmond, CA. But another remarkable story is the growing diversity of the Green Party and the candidates who are its public face.

Respect for diversity has long been a key value of the Green Party US, but still, Greens have faced charges (from within and without) that the party and its candidates are disproportionately white and male. Yet it’s clear that as people of color are increasingly marginalized by the Democratic and Republican parties, more and more are finding a welcoming home with the Green Party.

p anita riosIn Ohio, Green gubernatorial candidate Anita Rios, a longtime advocate within the Green Party for Latino/Latina issues, earned nearly 100,000 votes for 3.3%, winning a ballot line for the Ohio Greens. In California, gubernatorial candidate Luis Rodriguez, a well-known Chicano activist and author, took 1.5% in the June “Top Two” primary, the top vote-getter outside the Democratic and Republican parties. The Texas Greens’ slate included Emily “Spicy Brown” Sanchez for US Senate, Antonio Diaz for US House, and Martina Salinas for Railroad Commissioner. The Tennessee Greens’ gubernatorial candidate Isa Infante was born in the Dominican Republic. In New York, Attorney General candidate Ramon Jimenez is a “people’s attorney” from the Bronx, and Daniel Vila Rivera took over 10% of the vote for US House.

p brian jones headshotAfrican-American Greens made their impact felt too. In New York, Howie Hawkins’ running mate Brian Jones was crucial to mobilizing NYC activists for the Green Party. Eugene Puryear ran the most dynamic city council race the DC Statehood Green Party has seen in years, building the DCSGP for future success. In St. Paul, Lena Buggs’ run for state representative showed that the Greens are fast overtaking the GOP as the Twin Cities’ second party. Glenn Davis, a veteran and colleague of Cheri Honkala, helped the Greens do the same in Philadelphia. In Oakland, the Greens nominated Jason Anderson, a veteran, artist, and activist, for mayor. And in Texas, the Greens ran Jamar Osborne for Attorney General.

p skip sandmanOne of the most talked-about Green congressional campaigns in 2014 was that of Ray “Skip” Sandman in Minnesota’s 8th district. Skip Sandman is an elder in the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, and drew widespread attention for his stand against an ecologically devastating sulfide mining project in the Duluth area (which Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan continues to support). Sandman’s call to protect the water for future generations garnered admiration from Greens across the US, as well as 4.3% of the vote in a hotly contested congressional race. Shortly after Democrat Nolan’s re-election, he voted in favor of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

p keiko bonkAlso deserving of special mention is Keiko Bonk, who challenged Hawai’i’s speaker of the house with a run for state representative. A Japanese-American, Keiko Bonk became the first Green elected to partisan office in the United States when she won election to the Hawai’i County Council in 1992. While she wasn’t able to unseat the speaker, Bonk did win 23.3% of the vote, beating a Republican into 3rd place.

These are only some of the candidates showing the growing diversity of the Green Party – there are many other Green candidates, not to mention activists, who are defying the stereotype that all Greens are aging white men. However, Greens still have much work to do if they hope to create a welcoming political party for people of color, and turn the Green Party into a truly diverse multiracial coalition dedicated to winning liberty and justice for all.

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California Green Party June 2014 primary election results

p luis rodriguezOn June 3rd, California held its Top Two primary for statewide and legislative offices, as well as local elections in many communities. Here are results for California Green Party candidates:

  • Gubernatorial candidate Luis Rodriguez earned 46,181 votes for 1.5%, the top vote-getter outside the Democratic and Republican parties.
  • Jena Goodman got 70,663 votes (2.3%) for Lt. Governor – again, the top vote-getter outside the establishment parties.
  • David Curtis got 87,311 votes (3.0%) for Secretary of State.
  • Laura Wells earned 167,501 votes (5.6%) for Comptroller.
  • Ellen Brown got 194,987 votes (6.5%) for Treasurer.
  • Barry Hermanson got 4,435 votes (5.5%) for US House District 12 against incumbent Nancy Pelosi.
  • Michael Powelson got 1,800 votes (3.3%) for US House District 30.
  • Michael Sachs got 552 votes (0.7%) for US House District 33 (finishing 12th in a field of 18 candidates).
  • Dan Hamburg was re-elected to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
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Truthout interviews Luis Rodriguez, Green for California Governor

p luis rodriguezTruthout has published an interview with Luis J. Rodriguez, the best-selling author, Chicano activist, and California Green Party candidate for Governor. California’s Top Two primary is on Tuesday, June 3rd. From the interview:

People with your kind of progressive and radical politics are normally very cynical about electoral politics. They see electoral politics as inherently corrupt and believe building and supporting social movements are more effective at achieving progressive change. You seem to recognize the system’s inherent corruption. So why run for governor at all? 

I intend to extend the conversation about what is democracy. When it takes millions of dollars to even “play” (if you’re not paying for ads and airtime, many media outlets won’t include you), this is not democracy. When only two corporate parties dominate, this is not democracy. When politicians make deals – and often tear up the social contract to serve the people – this is not democracy. I know why we have low voter turnouts: Voting has become meaningless.

Nonetheless, we cannot abandon the electoral process to the rich and powerful. A war is fought on many fronts – not just the newest proclaimed “cool” action. We need them all. Don’t give up one quarter of political or cultural space.  Continue Reading

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Luis Rodriguez for CA Governor video and Truthdig article

Luis Rodriguez, the best-selling author and California Green Party nominee for Governor, has released a short campaign video entitled “Imagine”, corresponding to his campaign slogan “Imagine a new California”. Watch here:

p luis rodriguezTruthdig recently published an article about Rodriguez’s campaign and his rich personal history, entitled “Luis J. Rodriguez: From Gang Member to Governor?”

There is little that Luis J. Rodriguez has not done in his life. The 60-year-old Chicano poet and best-selling author has been a member of a gang, faced felony charges, struggled with drug addiction, worked in various countries as a journalist, painted murals, taught prisoners, organized against war and racism, and run a cultural center and bookstore in Los Angeles. Continue Reading

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Jill Stein, Luis Rodriguez, Ellen Brown, Rosa Clemente to join Public Enemy & more at free LA festival

p Jill SteinThe United We Stand festival in Los Angeles on Saturday May 10th will include 2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, 2008 Green VP candidate Rosa Clemente, 2014 CA Governor candidate Luis Rodriguez, and 2014 CA Treasurer candidate Ellen Brown, along with a lineup including Public Enemy, Immortal Technique, and Dennis Kucinich. From Free and Equal:

Free & Equal will host the “United We Stand” Festival Tour kicking off on May 10th, 2014. The UWS Festival tour will showcase music as well as panels of musicians, actors, writers, journalists, and other speakers discussing key issues such as:

The Patriot Act, NDAA, NSA, war on drugs, drones, foreign policy/war, GMO, Internet freedom, election reform, honest media/music/art, central banks, corporatism, education/student leadership, the environment, spirituality/oneness, and more. The events will be recorded and broadcast globally. Continue Reading

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Green CA Governor candidate collecting signatures to fight new rules to keep minor parties off the ballot

p luis rodriguez speechFrom the California Green Party:

What: Signature drive to overcome new election rules designed to keep traditionally qualified parties like the Greens  and others off the ballot
Who: Luis Rodriguez, Green Party endorsed candidate for governor, is collecting signatures to ensure being on the June 2014 ballot. 
Where: Hollywood, in front of  the Farm Fresh Ranch Market, 5520 Sunset Blvd.
When: Wednesday, February 19, 1pm-2pm
In the face of an almost seven-fold increase in the number of signatures to be on the ballot because of the Top Two, Green-endorsed candidate for Governor Luis J. Rodriguez will be signature gathering Wednesday afternoon in Hollywood, in front of  the Farm Fresh Ranch Market at 1pm.
Under California’s new Top Two law, statewide candidates from the minor parties  must collect 10,000 signatures to get their candidates on the ballot or pay the fee, which ranges from $2,600 to $3,500 per office.  The old signature threshold was just 150 signatures from party members. The signature deadline is Thursday, February 20th.
“Although we have risen to this challenge with dozens of unpaid, mostly young volunteer petition circulators, we regard the 10,000-signature requirement to be an undemocratic impediment to the ballot.,” says Rodriguez, who is waging a grassroots campaign on issues of ending poverty and the schools-to-prison pipeline. “The Top Two favors moneyed interests at the expense of diverse voices, that have every right to be heard. We call upon the legislature to amend this law in favor of more fair ballot access for the people of California.” Continue Reading
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Chicano activist Luis Rodriguez talks about his Green campaign for CA Governor

p luis rodriguezVOXXI.com and Bay Area Indymedia have both published interviews with Luis Rodriguez, well-known Chicano author and activist and California Green Party candidate for Governor.

The California Greens still need volunteer help to put Rodriguez and the other CA Green candidates for statewide office on the ballot. Click here to find out how you can help.

From VOXXI:

Luis J. Rodriguez is an ambitious man, to say the least. Come November of this year, he hopes to turn the blue state of California green as well as completely reform the state’s prison, health, and education systems as the Green Party of California’s gubernatorial candidate.

“I’m running to demand an end to poverty, an end to our poisoned environment, an end to poor schools and a bloated prison industry,” he explained via email as he traveled the state. It’s a tall, practically impossible order, but one he feels destined for.

“I’ve been riding a thread that has been with me since birth, born on the border of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico,” he continued. “That thread has to do with injustice, poverty, and being locked out of the decision-making processes in this country. I’m committed to changing this for everyone.” Continue Reading

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California Greens vie for June primary spots

p ellen brownFrom Neon Tommy, the online publication of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism:

Though California’s June primary is still nearly four months away, candidates are scrambling to collect thousands more voter signatures than previously required.

A record-high 42 percent of Americans self-identified as political independents in 2013, the highest percentage in 25 years, according to a Gallup poll. The Green Party of California (GPCA) is looking to not only laurawells2increase its numbers in office, but also boost its visibility in a heavily Democratic and Republican political landscape.

Ellen Brown, GPCA candidate for treasurer, said that Americans — and specifically Californians — are increasingly open to third-party politics outside the realm of traditional Republican and Democratic platforms.

“It’s a good time to be running because there’s definitely more public support for independents,” Brown said. “People are so disillusioned with the two main parties, they don’t seem that different anymore and you can’t trust them to do what they said. The wave of the future will be politicians who will be independent of big money.” Continue Reading

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California Green Party announces 2014 statewide endorsements

p luis rodriguezFrom Napa Valley Patch:

On the heels of a record number of California Greens elected in an odd-numbered year (20), the Green Party of California (GPCA) announces its official endorsements for the June 2014 primary: Luis Rodriguez, Governor; Laura Wells, Controller; Ellen Brown, Treasurer; and David Curtis, Secretary of State.

In 2012, the L.A. Weekly named Luis Rodriguez one of the 60 most fascinating people in Los Angeles, citing his history of art, activism and ‘fighting his way through the mean streets of East L.A.”

Rodriguez visited Napa in October to seek local support.

“This campaign is an imaginal poetic journey,” said Rodriguez in a speech to the GPCA’s recent state meeting in Santa Rosa. “But we also aim to win.”

“Winning is addressing poverty, justice and the environment,” Rodriguez told GPCA delegates. “Solutions come from aligning resources to meet human needs, by providing livable and meaningful work or income, healthy and clean communities and free quality health care for all. We must also address the massive inequities of the criminal justice system, and ensure arts, culture and expression outlets in every neighborhood.”

Also solution-oriented, Laura Wells and Ellen Brown advocate “banking in the public interest”, to address the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis and infrastructure funding shortfalls, by establishing a publicly-owned state bank for CaliforniaContinue Reading

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Luis Rodriguez announces Green campaign for Governor of California

p luis rodriguezLos Angeles author and activist vies for Governor’s office as Green Party candidate

LOS ANGELES, CA – Nationally renowned author Luis J. Rodriguez has announced his intention in running for California Governor under the Green Party in 2014. The Green Party of California will nominate its June 2014 Gubernatorial candidate this November at its bi-annual statewide General Assembly. As a newly registered Green Party member of California and the 2012 Vice-Presidential Nominee for the Justice Party alongside running-mate and former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson, Luis’s plan is for a campaign aimed at the wellbeing of all Californians – for meaningful and livable jobs; education/training into the new digitally driven technology; green, clean and healthy neighborhoods for everyone; and peace and safety through restorative, transformative and healing urban peace models.

“I’m for a vision of a new California – one that takes care of all its hard working residents, including those that now find themselves without work and even homes, and that strives for the long-range sustainability that is possible in the wealthiest and most resourceful state in the country,” says Mr. Rodriguez. “I am inviting all progressives, labor leaders, community organizers, and, of course, regular folk – across the political spectrum – to unite around a broad movement for a California worthy of each of us. We need to make sure everyone is included in the immense possibilities inherent in people’s imaginations, in their labor, in the technology, and with respectful relationship to our bountiful earth.” Continue Reading