Memorial bike ride honors Natasha Pettigrew, 2010 MD Green Party US Senate candidate

Gazette.net reports on a bike ride held in memory of Natasha Pettigrew, the Maryland Green Party’s 2010 US Senate candidate who was killed by a motorist while riding her bike last year:

Sophie Chan-Wood didn’t know Natasha Pettigrew, but when the avid cyclist heard about a Saturday morning memorial ride honoring the Cheverly woman, she saw an opportunity to ride to Prince George’s County via the Watts Branch Trail from Washington, D.C.

However, it wasn’t until the Rockville woman was hundreds of feet from the site of the Sept. 19, 2010, hit and run that claimed cyclist Pettigrew’s life that the car honking began, a reminder that both motorists and bicycles should be able to share the road. Continue Reading


Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

2010 was a roller coaster year for the Green Party. Mid-term elections proved voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats in power, but the media-darling Tea Party Movement drove voters to reactionary candidates, not helping Greens at the polls. International Greens saw successes in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places, while US Greens were moved by the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza under siege by Israeli forces. The 2010 Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum, putting Greens side by side their brothers and sisters in the struggle for social justice in America. In the fall, Greens had many exciting candidates running for office including Jill Stein, LeAlan Jones, Laura Wells, Rich Whitney, Tom Clements, Colia Clark, Julia Willebrand, Farheen Hakeem, Howie Hawkins, Cecile Lawrence, Ben Manski, Fred Horsch, and so many other inspiring Greens.

The following Top 10 Green Party stories are taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. May 2011 be prosperous for Greens around the World. Time is running out.

Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

May 7, 2010 – Caroline Lucas becomes first Green Member of Parliament in United Kingdom – Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, won a hotly-contested race in Brighton Pavilion to become the Greens’ first-ever member of parliament. The Guardian summed it up best: “It’s a massive breakthrough, not only because she’s a brilliant, charismatic, humane politican who will enrich parliamentary life, but also because it proves it can be done, even under our antiquated political system.”

May 31, 2010 Green Party and Cynthia McKinney Condemn Freedom Flotilla Massacre – In May of this year the Israeli Navy attacked a flotilla of ships run by the Free Gaza movement carrying humanitarian supplies to the besieged residents of the Gaza Strip. 19 human rights activists were killed in the attack and 50 more wounded. The Green Party, led by 2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, have been vocal and active critics of Israel’s war on the people of Gaza.

“The attacks on the aid boats is a criminal act of piracy and a deliberate provocation,” said Dr. Justine McCabe, co-chair of the Green Party’s International Committee. ““We demand immediate action from the US, including emergency orders from President Obama to cut off all aid to Israel. The policies of the US regarding Israel and Palestine up to now have convinced Israel that it can act with impunity in committing massacres and massive human violations against Palestinian civilians.”

2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, who was taken prisoner by the Israelis last year on another attack on a Free Gaza ship, said: “I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.”

June 8, 2010California Voters Pass Prop 14, Top Two Primary Initiative By a 53% – 46% margin, California voters approved adopting a “top two primary” election reform, a system whereby all candidates appear on a single ballot in the primary but only the top two, regardless of political party, advance to the General Election.

California Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells had this to say: “Prop 14 pretends to be “open primary,” but more accurately should be called “top two,” or party-killer! Only two candidates would be left in November, when Prop 14 would exclude all the independent, alternative political parties like the Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian. Prop 14 would favor only Democrats and Republicans that are incumbents or highly funded.”

June 24-27, 2010 – Green Party Annual National Meeting in Detroit in Conjunction with US Social Forum The Green Party’s Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum. The Green Party sponsored several Social Forum workshops and registration was cross-listed between the two events. Many Green Party candidates were in attendance and available to the media. A number of candidate presentations were taped by Green Party Watch and can be found through this link.

June 2010 – Republicans pay to get Green Party on Ballot in Texas, Democrats Livid If there is one thing that drives Democrats crazier than a Green “spoiling” an election, it is Greens getting on the ballot at all despite overwhelming odds. In Texas, a Republican consultant in Arizona arranged for a non-profit in Missouri to pay for Free & Equal to come up with 92,000 signatures to get the Green Party of Texas on the ballot up and down the ticket. Democrats were livid, immediately suing and issuing injunctions against ballot access. The case went to the Texas supreme court before culminating with the Green Party candidates being allowed to remain on the ballot.

The ultimate result of this was that Ed Lindsay, Green Party of Texas candidate for State Comptroller won over 5% of the vote, ensuring that the Green Party of Texas will have state wide ballot access through the 2012 elections.

August 21, 2010 – Historic Election Results for Australian Greens The Australian Green Party performed very well in the federal elections in Australia, with Adam Bandt winning a seat outright in Melbourne with over 36% of the first-choice vote, and the Greens winning about 12% of the vote in the lower house, giving them a share of control over the balance of power in the Australian Parliament.

September 21, 2010 – Green Party Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew hit and killed on bicycle Natasha Pettigrew, Senate candidate for the Green Party in Maryland, was riding in the bike lane on a highway early on a Sunday morning by an inattentive driver of a SUV. The driver apparently didn’t realize she had hit anyone until she arrived home. Pettigrew died from her injuries the next day. This (long after the fact) article really captures the influence this story had on people.

November 3, 2010 – Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Texas and New York Election returns resulted in the Green Party gaining ballot access through at least 2012 in two of the most populous states, New York and Texas, however the Green Party lost ballot access in Illinois and Wisconsin. In New York Greens gain ballot status through 2014 thanks to Howie Hawkins earning over 50,000 votes for governor. In Texas Greens gain ballot status through 2012 thanks to Ed Lindsay earning over 5% for comptroller.

November 5, 2010 – Green Party Candidates for US Senate Net Half Million Votes The eleven Green Party candidates on the ballot this year for US Senate netted a combined half million votes. The 510,000 votes is the highest combined total for Green Party Senate candidates since 2000, when Medea Benjamin won 326,000 votes for US Senate in California and Vance Hansen picked up over 100,000 in Arizona. The 2010 results were clearly led by Tom Clements in South Carolina, whose 118,000 votes gave him 9.37% of the total. Clements had the most votes and the highest percent of the vote of all Green Party US Senate candidates in 2010. LeAlan Jones was the second big finisher with 116,000 votes, 3.19% of the total.

2010 – Green Party Elects 37 Greens to Office in 2010 342 Greens ran for office in 2010, over 300 of them were on the ballot in November. 37 Greens were elected, a win rate of 10.8%. All but 2 of the wins were in non-partisan races.

On the November ballot, Greens had strong showings for State Legislative races, but fell short in races for Governor and US House of Representatives. One Green, Ben Chipman, was elected to the Maine State Assembly but was listed as an Independent due to a technicality.


Natasha Pettigrew Remembered

From the Washington Post, Dec. 22:

By Melissa Bell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2010;
Natasha Pettigrew stood on the shore of Virginia Beach looking out at the choppy, wild waves of the sea before her first triathlon in 2005. Some of her fellow competitors demurred; conditions were rougher than expected, too risky, they thought, for the race’s first leg.

“I saw Natasha standing there in her wet suit, staring at the water,” said her mother, Kenniss Henry. “I thought, She’s going to swim. She’s going to do it.”

Pettigrew did. She charged in, dove under a huge wave and swam the kilometer out and back to shore. She came bounding out of the sea, grinning and waving to her mother. “My heart was in my throat, and she’s gushing about how cute the lifeguard was!” Henry remembered.

The challenge of that first race had Pettigrew hooked. But five years later, she would dive into a very different kind of race, where the prize was not a medal but a U.S. Senate seat.

Pettigrew, 30, had spent her Washington-area childhood tagging along with her mother to political demonstrations, museums and documentaries about social issues. Henry said Pettigrew was a statistic: the child of a single, black mother. But Pettigrew, who grew up watching her mom work three jobs to make sure her daughter could get a good education, wanted to show that hard work could overcome the dire predictions often lobbed at women such as her. She took a leave of absence from her final year of law school at the University of Miami and returned to Largo with plans to run for Senate.

Pettigrew knew the race would be an uphill battle when she walked into the office of Brian Bittner, the co-chair of the Maryland Green Party, and asked if his party would back her candidacy. It was a bold request, given that she and Bittner had not previously met.

“We don’t really relish being in the role of the underdog,” Bittner said. “But we try our best to get our voice out there.” Pettigrew hadn’t been active with the party before, but her values lined up with theirs: social justice, environmental issues, feminism and grass-roots democracy. Pettigrew’s enthusiasm, and her willingness to enter the long and likely unwinnable battle, persuaded Bittner that she was the right voice for speak for the party.

The official campaign photograph on her Web site (headlined “Natasha for Senate: Running for the People!”) shows Pettigrew wearing a huge smile. Her hair is long and loose. Her face gleams with excitement. She relished time out in the field, meeting new people, stumping on ways to strengthen the education system, advocating for health care reform, talking to children about the need to stay in school. That she was a third-party candidate running against incumbent Barbara Mikulski — a Democrat popular with voters and the longest-serving female senator in U.S. history — did not dissuade Pettigrew; rather, she felt invigorated by the task.

“It cannot be the easy route. It always had to be a little bit different. She thrived in that mentality,” said her best friend, Imani Gamble. “The rest of us try to find the way we can do something with the least resistance. Not her.”

Winning the election was a long shot, Pettigrew knew, but garnering the most votes was not the only victory she sought. She wanted to offer people another option to incumbent politicians. She hoped to get votes without raising corporate money. She wanted to show people her own age that they didn’t have to wait around for someone else to fix things. If she could inspire some people, if she could make a difference, that would be a success.

“If you want to see change happen,” Pettigrew had told friends, “do it yourself, because it’s not going to happen otherwise.”

Despite the pressure of the campaign trail, Pettigrew made time for triathlon training. She was up and out of her mother’s house before dawn on the morning of Sept. 19 for a bike ride. She had often complained to friends in Miami how terrible the city was for bikers and praised the trails and bike lanes in Maryland.

She set out on one of those bike lanes along Route 202 in Largo. At 5:30 a.m., a Cadillac Escalade crashed into her; the driver didn’t realize she’d hit a person until she got home. Pettigrew died two days later, just five weeks before Election Day. An investigation is ongoing, according to police.

When Pettigrew died, her Facebook page filled up with notes from voters promising to write her name onto the ballot. Her mother stepped in to finish out her daughter’s campaign. “She had already won the race,” Henry said. “I just had to make the sprint to the finish line. That was the least I could do.”

Henry received 20,717 votes — just over 1 percent, but a win in her mind. On Election Day, a man approached a Green Party pollster and said Pettigrew’s story had inspired him to vote outside his party for the first time in his life. “We collectively completed what she set out to do,” Henry said.

Now Henry has taken on a new challenge: pushing the Maryland General Assembly to adopt stronger safety laws to protect bicyclists and pushing for tougher penalties for drivers who hit them.

It’s exactly what Pettigrew would have done — worked to fix the problem.


Green Party candidates for US Senate: Big Stories, Top Videos

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party candidates for US Senate across the country have broken new ground in their races, gaining greater public attention and more campaign contributions than ever before.

For a complete list of 2010 Green senatorial candidates, visit http://www.greenscc.org/pages/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=7

Green candidates for the US Senate: top stories and videos

• The Green Senatorial Campaign Committee (http://www.greenscc.org), which is recognized by the Federal Election Commission, is distributing its first round of funds to candidates.  Despite the recession, the committee has already surpassed the funds raised in the last election cycle.

• In Maryland, Kenniss Henry has replaced her daughter Natasha Pettigrew, who was killed when an SUV struck her bicycle in September, as the Green Party’s US Senate candidate.  Ms. Henry will carry Ms. Pettigrew’s issues forward and work hard to change Maryland law to win greater protection for bicyclists.

• LeAlan Jones, running for the US Senate in Illinois, is drawing equal support from McCain and Obama voters, challenging the common belief that Greens draw votes solely from the left and potentially spoil for Democrats.

“Illinois voters have figured out that the Green Party, not the Tea Party, represents the real alternative to business-as-usual two-party politics,” said Matt Lavery, chair of the Green Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Video clips of LeAlan Jones interviewed: http://lealanforsenate.org and http://www.greenscc.org

• Green candidates have received increasing endorsements and support from Democrats.  In West Virginia, Democratic leader and defeated US Senate candidate Ken Hechler endorsed Jesse Johnson of the Mountain Party (affiliated with the national Green Party).  Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hechler are leaders in the movement to ban mountaintop removal mining.

• Tom Clements has emerged as the choice of South Carolina voters who support neither incumbent rightwing Republican ideologue Jim DeMint or Democrat Alvin Greene, whose campaign is collapsing after troubling revelations about his past.

“If enough voters in South Carolina learn about Tom Clements by Election Day, we will make history by placing the first Green in the US Senate,” said David McCorquodale, Treasurer of the Green Senatorial Campaign Committee.


• While Green candidates for the Senate are attracting more media coverage than in past elections, they’re still struggling to get included in televised debates.  In Illinois, LeAlan Jones is currently petitioning for the right to participate in the Meet The Press candidates’ debate.

Green candidates who get into the debates raise issues and ideas that the Democratic and Republican contenders won’t touch.  In Arizona, Green Senate candidate Jerry Joslyn confronted incumbent Sen. John McCain on war funding during a September 26 debate.

• Duane Roberts, Green candidate for the US Senate in California, has taken the lead on immigrants’ rights, demanding “immediate amnesty.”  In September, Mr. Roberts accused Democrats of being “anti-immigrant.”

• More videos:

West Virginia Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson speaks at the Sept. 27 Appalachia Rising protest in Washington, DC, against mountaintop removal mining: http://vimeo.com/15421038
Audio clip of interview about the rally: http://westvirginia.watchdog.org/2084/audio-senate-candidate-johnson-joins-hundreds-to-protest-mtr-in-dc/

“Colia’s Song,” about New York Green candidate Colia Clark: http://www.coliaclark.org

LeAlan Jones and other US Senate candidates from Illinois meet with the Chicago Tribune editorial board (audio): http://www.chicagotribune.com/wgnam-senate-candidates,0,2709990.mp3file



Natasha Pettigrew’s mother picks up daughter’s torch as MD Senate candidate

Natalie McGill reports at Gazette.net:

The mother of Natasha Pettigrew, a Green Party Senate candidate who died Sept. 20 after her bike was struck by a sport utility vehicle, will replace her daughter as the party’s nominee.

Kenniss Henry of Cheverly will run in Pettigrew’s place in the Nov. 2 general election, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections website. Continue Reading


Green Senate Races 2010

The Green Party is running 14 13 candidates for U.S. Senate across the nation, from Arkansas to West Virginia. Midge Potts in Missouri has dropped out after failing to get the 10,000 signatures necessary to get on the ballot. Mel Packer in Pennsylvania collected over 20,000 signatures necessary to get on the ballot, which were challenged, forcing him off the ballot. This number matchesis one shy of the 2006 election when 14 candidates for US Senate were on the ballot. There are 37 US Senate elections this November (3 are special elections).

The Green Senatorial Campaign Committee, a political action committee of the Green Party of the United States, has a new website that is worth checking out. The GSCC raises money for Green Party candidates for Congress.

2010 Candidates for US Senate on the Green Party ticket

Colia Clark – New York Ms. Clark is a veteran of the civil rights movement. Her work has included activism in the fields of women’s rights and workers’ rights, as well as activism and advocacy for homeless people and youth. Most recently, she has worked with the Cynthia McKinney for President campaign with “Power to the People”. Clark is a chair of Grandmothers for the Release of Mumia Abu Jamal. During the Civil Rights era, Colia Clark was a Special Assistant to Medgar W. Evers, field Secretary for the NAACP. Clark later joined the Mississippi Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) doing voter registration work.

Cecile Lawrence – New York Ms. Lawrence is originally from Jamaica, and has been living in upstate New York for over 18 years. She has worked in college administration, non-profit administration and in college teaching. Dr. Lawrence has been active in the fight for universal health care and opposing the method of drilling for natural gas called High Volume Horizontal Hydrofracturing that threatens the health and welfare as well as the water of all of the residents of New York State. She has a PhD in Philosophy, Interpretation & Culture from Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.) and is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (S.U.N.Y.) Law School. A resident of Tioga County, shes been a board member of local civic organizations such as the YWCA and the Southern Tier Independence Center, and is currently a member of Tioga Peace and Justice.

Natasha Pettigrew – Maryland Natasha Pettigrew was tragically killed on in September when an SUV hit her while she rode her bike in the early morning hours. The Maryland Green Party may replace her name on the ballot but otherwise she will appear on the November ballot. Pettigrew was 30 years old at the time of her death. She had taken a leave from Law School to run for US Senate, was a former Americorps volunteer, and a deeply compassionate person.

Tom Clements – South Carolina Tom Clements got a huge boost in his campaign for US Senate in South Carolina when a virtual unknown with a questionable legal history won the Democratic primary. Liberals in South Carolina are taking a second look now at Tom Clements, who is coming across as a very appealing choice. Clements worked for 13 years for Greenpeace International, and was the Executive Director of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington DC.

Jesse Johnson – West Virginia Jesse Johnson is an outspoken activist against mountain top removal and opponent of the mining interests that run West Virginia. He was the West Virginia Mountain Party’s candidate for Governor in 2004 and US Senate in 2006, before the Mountain Party became a state affiliate of the Green Party. Johnson sought the Presidential nomination of the Green Party in 2008.

LeAlan Jones – Illinois LeAlan Jones has been speaking truth to power for 17 years about poverty, inequality and justice. In 1993 LeAlan made headlines with his NPR documentary “Ghetto Life 101“ which he made with 14 year-old Lloyd Newman and producer David Isay. He continued writing and producing work about poverty and inner city violence, was the youngest recipient of the prestigious Peabody award. LeAlan Jones has been polling between 4% and 9% and has demonstrated that he is a serious and viable candidate for Barack Obama’s Senate Seat.

John Gray – Arkansas Gray is a retired engineer and the Mayor of Greenland, Arkansas. He is a strong environmentalist and corporate critic. Last cycle Arkansas did very well in congressional races, largely due to the Republicans and Democrats opting not to run against each other. In the US Senate race in 2008 Rebekah Kennedy got over 200,000 votes for 20.56% of the vote in a head to head match up with Democrat Mark Prior. This year is far more competitive with Democrat Blanche Lincoln being challenged by Republican John Boozman and Independent Trevor Drown.

Bob Kinsey – Colorado Kinsey ran for US Senate in Colorado two years ago, getting 46,000 votes for 2.13% in a four way race. He is a Marine Corps veteran, a retired history teacher, and retired United Church of Christ clergyman with forty years of advocacy for the Just Peace theology.

Jerry Joslyn – Arizona Jerry Joslyn’s history is as a small businessman in computers and publishing. He served with both the California Air National Guard and Arizona National Guard. This is an interesting race with John McCain being challenged by a Democrat and by a strong Libertarian candidate David Nolan, former Chair of the Libertarian Party and inventor of the “Nolan Chart”. Josslyn is a great candidate as well, Iracm currently watching his live streamed debate here.

Duane Roberts – California As a community activist, Roberts has been a defender of immigrant rights, a critic of police misconduct and abuse, and has even exposed political corruption. In 2003, he helped organize what then was one of the biggest anti-war demonstrations in Orange County since the Vietnam War at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. Roberts has been involved in many demonstrations and marches and has used his extensive knowledge of police behavior to protect the civil rights and liberties of protesters.

Candy Neville – Oregon I have not been able to verify that she is running but according to this she was nominated by the Pacific Green Party. If anyone has more information on this race please let me know. (Candy Neville is NOT a Green Party candidate for US Senate ~RKH)

Jim Brewer – Hawaii I don’t have much information about this race. If you have any, please let me know.

Jeff Russell (Write in) – Connecticut Russell is a new candidate, running as a write-in option in Connecticut. Last year Ralph Ferrucci ran for US Senate in Connecticut and won 6,387 votes for less than 1 percent.

Richard Weir (Write in) – North Carolina I’ll confess I am out of time, so I am referring you to this interview on Z Blogs with Mr. Weir. I would vote for him if I could.

Election History for US Senate

The first candidates to run for US Senate on the Green Party ticket were Linda Martin of Hawaii and Mary Jordan in Alaska, both in 1992. Martin got over 13% of the vote in a four way race, Jordan got over 8%. The following cycle Barbara Blong ran for US Senate in California and took in 140,000 votes. Four candidates run for US Senate in 1996, three more in 1998, and then ten candidates joined Ralph Nader on the ballot in 2000 as the Green Party began to really grow across the nation. Nine ran in 2002, eight in 2004, 14 in 2006, and seven in 2008.


Video: Natasha Pettigrew Interview

Natasha Pettigrew, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland up until her tragic death earlier this week, appears here in a televised question and answer session.

There will be a candle light vigil at the site where Ms. Pettigrew was hit on her bicycle by a SUV later today. The Maryland Green Party will be meeting this weekend to decide if they will be replacing her on the ballot.


Senate Candidate Pettigrew Dies From Injuries

Very sad news:

Natasha Pettigrew, a 30-year-old Maryland Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, has died from injuries she received after she was hit by an SUV while riding her bike early Sunday morning, WUSA 9 reports.

Pettigrew was training to compete in a triathlon about 5:30 a.m. Sunday when she was struck by a Cadillac Escalade headed south on Route 202 near the intersection with Campus Way, said Cpl. Darryl Clark, the duty officer at the Maryland State Police’s Forestville barrack.

Pettigrew’s bike was trapped underneath the SUV, and the driver traveled all the way home to an address in Cheverly apparently thinking “they ran over a deer,” Clark said.


Senate Candidate Natasha Pettigrew (MD) Critically Injured in Bike-SUV Accident

The Maryland Green Party Hopes for Full Recovery for U.S. Senate Candidate Natasha Pettigrew

Natasha Pettigrew, the Green Party’s candidate for United States Senate in this fall’s General Election, was critically injured Sunday morning when her bicycle was struck by an SUV. Natasha is currently being cared for at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly.

“We are very concerned and upset about this horrible accident and the serious injuries to a brilliant young woman with a bright future ahead of her,” said Karen Jennings, party Co-Chair.

The Green Party learned of the accident through DC-area news reports late Sunday night. Representatives of the Maryland Green Party have spoken with hospital staff and are awaiting updated news of Pettigrew’s condition.

“We hope that Natasha will be able to make a full recovery,” said Brian Bittner, party Co-Chair. “In addition to her work talking to Maryland voters about her campaign for U.S. Senate, Natasha is also looking forward to completing her degree in law and spending many more years with her family. We are confident the doctors and staff caring for her will provide her the best chance for a full recovery.”

Cards and other items of personal support can be mailed to Natasha Pettigrew, 3540 Crain Highway #475, Bowie, Maryland 20716.

The Maryland Green Party will also accept items of personal support on Natasha’s behalf at Maryland Green Party, c/o P.O. Box 29915, Baltimore, MD 21230.


Maryland Green Party Annual Assembly to be held this Saturday 22 May

Via Baltimore Greens:

Kathy Phillips, Keynote Speaker for Maryland Green Party Annual Assembly;
Panel discussion to feature Maryland Green Party 2010 candidates

WHAT: The Maryland Green Party Annual Assembly is the annual meeting for registered Green Party members in the state of Maryland. Maryland Green Party members from across the state will meet to elect officers for the organization and participate in panel discussions. The keynote speaker Kathy Phillips will speak at 1:15 pm and will be followed by a panel of Maryland Green Party candidates running for office in Maryland this year. The event is open to the public regardless of party affiliation. Continue Reading