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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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Green for Greens: Andy Dawkins for MN Attorney General

Green For Greens is about highlighting some of the most exciting Green candidates across the United States – and asking our readers to contribute what they can to help these candidates succeed. We are committed to building a party of peace, justice, democracy and ecology, free of corporate money and control, and the best way to do that is by supporting the courageous candidates who are spreading our message and building our party every day.

p andy dawkins with supportersAndy Dawkins is a former Minnesota state legislator with 15 years experience, and the Minnesota Green Party’s candidate for Attorney General in 2014. A “people’s lawyer” who has made a career of representing underdogs against powerful interests, Dawkins is running against an incumbent Democrat who he says has abandoned progressive Minnesotans on key issues like gun safety, environmental protection, marriage equality, worker’s rights, and marijuana legalization.

Dawkins is an advocate for ranked-choice voting (aka instant runoff voting); he first became involved with the Minnesota Greens during their successful campaigns to enact RCV in Minneapolis and St. Paul. He is also critical of the incumbent AG’s support for sulfide mining, which the Greens oppose as an ecological disaster in the making (congressional candidate Skip Sandman is gaining significant support on this issue).

If Dawkins gets at least 1%, he can regain minor party status for the MN Greens, and at least 5% will gain major party status. Either status would allow the party to qualify for campaign subsidies through the state income tax check-off, and major party status comes with additional benefits.

Contribute to Andy Dawkins’ campaign today to help the Minnesota Greens win major party status and continue to grow stronger!

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Green for Greens: Skip Sandman (MN) for US House

Green For Greens is about highlighting some of the most exciting Green candidates across the United States – and asking our readers to contribute what they can to help these candidates succeed. We are committed to building a party of peace, justice, democracy and ecology, free of corporate money and control, and the best way to do that is by supporting the courageous candidates who are spreading our message and building our party every day.

To support Skip Sandman’s campaign, please consider contributing what you can via Paypal to skipsandman@gmail.com .

p skip sandmanFrom the Duluth News Tribune:

Vote for your family, the environment, and veterans

With a spirit of service that differs from my opponents, I am running for the 8th Congressional District. I am a veteran who served two tours in Vietnam. I was a union man for 25 years, working as a corrections officer. I currently work in a treatment center while continuing to serve the community. My background shows an understanding of the average Minnesotan — because I am one.

I say no to sulfide mining as there is no science to effectively clean up from this potentially disastrous type of mining. PolyMet claims it would need at least 500 years to treat its toxic wastewater. There never has been a successful clean-up from a sulfide mine anywhere in the world, and the Mount Polley mine disaster is an example of the potential for tragedy. In August, a tailings dam burst on an open pit copper mine in British Columbia, demonstrating that industry claims do not hold up in reality. The few hundred jobs the PolyMet project would create are not worth the damage Minnesota could be faced with, not only to the water and environment but to our local economy, especially with regard to tourism. Who could knowingly put methyl mercury into the mouths of infants? We have alternatives that won’t leave people feeling their only choices are poisoning their children or living in poverty. Continue Reading
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MN Green for Congress: “Leave fresh water for our grandchildren”

p skip sandmanRay “Skip” Sandman is the Minnesota Green Party’s candidate for US House of Representatives in the 8th congressional district, in Northeast MN (including Duluth and surrounding areas). As the only candidate in the race opposing a proposed copper sulfide mine, he is at 7% in the latest polls.

Sandman says his inspiration to run was a dream where a voice asked what he would leave to the children of the future: Continue Reading

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Minnesota Green Party aims for resurgence

p Andy DawkinsThe Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a front-page article during the 2014 Green Party US annual national meeting in St. Paul, covering the convention and the Minnesota Green Party’s current campaigns. From the article:

On the ballot is Andy Dawkins, a former DFL state representative, who is running for attorney general against three other candidates, including DFL incumbent Lori Swanson. He is the only Green Party candidate for statewide office — and the Greens’ best chance to claw itself back to relevancy.

Green Party leaders tapped Dawkins to run because as a longtime member of the Minnesota House representing St. Paul, he may be able to get enough votes to win back major party status. Continue Reading