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Claudia Ellquist Elected to GPUS Steering Committee

A resignation left the GPUS Steering Committee with a vacancy last month. Last week, the National Committee elected Claudia Ellquist of Arizona to fill out the remainder of that term. The Steering Committee consists of 7 co-chairs, a Secretary and a Treasurer. In June, 3 Steering Committee co-chairs and the Treasurer position will be up for election / re-election.

Ellquist, an Arizona attorney, is one of two co-chairs of the Arizona Green Party, co-chaired the 2010 Arizona ballot access campaign that led to 29,000 signatures, and led the 2008 ballot access campaign for the Arizona Green Party as well. Three times she has been a plaintiff to sue the state – and won – on ballot access issues, and from 1999-2001 she served as one of the original five appointed commissioners of the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission.

She has run twice for County Attorney in 2004 and 2008, averaging 20,000 votes each run. She has served on the national boards for NOW and Church Women United, helped run the ballot campaign in 2000 for Prop 204 that led to expanding health care to those living in poverty, worked as Executive Director of Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty, which in 2001 led to the end of executions for people with IQs below 70.

Many on the National Committee hope that Ms. Ellquist will seek a full term Steering Committee seat this summer.

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Green Party Steering Committee Elections Heat Up

The Steering Committee of the Green Party (US) consists of 7 “co-chairs”, plus a Treasurer and a Secretary. Four of the seven co-chair positions are up for election with 10 days left in the discussion period before a seven day voting period begins.

The debate among the National Committee, which elects the Steering Committee, has been intensifying over the last five days, however the debate has not been about the future direction of the party, but over challenges to two of the nominees qualifications. Steering Committee co-chairs have to be Delegates to the National Committee, but what isn’t clear is whether they have to be Delegates at the time they are nominated, or at the time they are elected.

The intense debate (hundreds of emails) has led to one of the challenged nominees, former presidential candidate kat swift of Texas, to withdraw her name from consideration. kat swift is currently an Alternate Delegate representing the National Women’s Caucus. kat swift ran for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2008 and in 2004, was a Green Party candidate for San Antonio City Council in 2007, and was co-chair of the Texas Green Party.

The other nomination being challenged is Nick Mellis, State Chair of the Green Party of New Jersey who is currently an Alternate Delegate representing New Jersey. Nick Mellis was a co-founder of the Green Party of New Jersey in 1995, helped organize the national Campus Greens in 2000, and was a candidate for New Jersey State Assembly in 2007. The Green Party of New Jersey State Council is currently debating a proposal to allow Mellis to switch places with one of their current delegates, however even this attempt is being challenged based on various bylaws and rules for GPUS and the GPNJ.

Also being elected at the same time is the Secretary position. Current Secretary, Holly Hart (IA) is seeking re-election. The other candidate is Audrey Clement (VA), who has been a Green Party member since 2005, a Delegate to the National Committee, and co-chair of the Bylaws, Rules, Policies & Procedures (BRPP) Committee. She was instrumental in securing ballot access in Virginia for Cynthia McKinney in 2008. Although debate on issues has been stifled due to the debate on candidate eligibilities, current Secretary Hart has been taking a lot of heat from the some of the Delegates/Alternates that have been most vocal in challenging the eligibility of Mellis and Swift, claiming that she should not have permitted them to be nominated.

The other six candidates for co-chairs of the GPUS Steering Committee to fill four seats are:
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GPUS SC elections and NC meeting with McKinney

The National Committee is meeting now (Sunday morning).

Sanda Everette, Jill Bussiere and Craig Thorsen were elected to the Steering Committee, and Jody Grage was continued as Treasurer.

Cynthia McKinney spoke to the NC about the campaign, her needs, the Green Party needs, etc. I missed half of this but the Wilders report on it, check there coverage out.

In terms of ballot access, Phil H. led the NC through a state by state plan to boost ballot status for McKinney to 46 states if possible. He ran down each state that already had ballot access or that had completed their drive, and then assigned those states other states to go help. This makes a nation wide ballot access drive, the only way to pull it off.

For example, Arizona is done, they are assigned to help Utah. Arkansas should go help Missouri. Wyoming has no one on the ground working for 4,000 signatures, no drive yet at all. Colorado was assigned to get Wyoming ballot status. Alabama needs help from Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. New Hampshire and Vermont needs Maine to go down and coordinate the petition drives in those two states. Indiana and Illinois need to get Kentucky going, Nebraska needs to get Kansas going, Michigan should help Ohio, Maryland and DC should finish off Virginia’s drive then turn to Pennsylvania, where there is still a drive to get on the ballot. Wisconsin and Illinois should help Iowa finish off their drive. Rhode Island and Massachusetts need to get McKinney on the ballot in Connecticut.

It is a good strategy if people step up. The Ballot Access Committee will steer the helpers to the states that need help.