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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 Party: Grant protected legal status for immigrants

p Green Party US new logoIn October, Green Party US put out the following statement on immigration:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party candidates and activists expressed alarm at President Obama’s dismissal of immigrants’ rights and apparent capitulation to the rhetoric of xenophobic Republican extremists.

Greens called for humane policies that recognize the basic rights of documented and undocumented immigrants and support an executive order to grant the latter protected legal status, amnesty, and an offer of citizenship.

The Obama Administration has deported more immigrants than any previous administration, with a record 438,421 deportations in 2013, 44% of which took place under “expedited removal orders” that denied court hearings. 96% of deportees are from Latino countries.

President Obama is now seeking $3.7 billion to fund “a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement,” $40 million for air surveillance, and increased funding for drones for use against undocumented immigrants. Continue Reading

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Upcoming state Green Party meetings for Spring 2014

green party earthflowerFrom Green Party US:

With elections coming this November, many state Green Parties are holding meetings to nominate candidates, discuss strategy, and get to know new members. If you are near one of these upcoming state meetings, mark it on your calendar!

The Green Party of Pennsylvania is meeting in State College on Saturday, March 1st. Click here for details.

Also on March 1st, the Green Party of Tennessee will hold its statewide meeting in Nashville.

The Green Party of Texas is planning its next state meeting for April 11-13 in Travis County, TX. Details are available on the party’s Facebook page here.

The Green Party of Wisconsin is meeting in Madison on Saturday, April 12th. Click here for details.

On May 3rd, Maine Greens are holding an anniversary dinner in Augusta to celebrate the founding of the state party. Click here for more information.

And don’t forget, the Green Party of the United States is holding its Annual National Meeting in Saint Paul, Minnesota this July 24th-27th. Hundreds of Greens will be there. We hope to see you!

Click here to purchase registration, food, and lodging for our Annual National Meeting.

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Tennessee Green Party sues to overturn state’s Voter ID law

From Ballot Access News:

On August 26, the Green Party of Tennessee filed a federal lawsuit against Tennessee’s law that requires voters at the polls to show certain kinds of government photo-ID. The case is in the eastern district and is Green Party of Tennessee v Hargett. Here is the Complaint.

The lawsuit does not argue that it is unconstitutional for the state to require photo-ID, but says that the types of photo-ID are too limited. See this story about the lawsuit.

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Green Party Wins Ballot Access in Tennessee

According to Ballot Access News, the Green Party and Constitution Party in Tennessee have won access to the Ballot in Tennessee via lawsuit:

On February 3, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes invalidated Tennessee’s new ballot access law for minor parties. The case is Green Party of Tennessee and Constitution Party of Tennessee v Hargett, 3:11-00692. The decision is 90 pages. It strikes down the early April petition deadline, and also strikes down the 40,029 signature petition requirement. And, it says that it is unconstitutional to force minor parties to nominate by primary, at least in the context of an open primary state that doesn’t have party registration. It strikes down the 2011 law that reserves the best positions on the ballot for the two major parties.

The decision also puts the Constitution and Green Parties on the 2012 ballot, based on the evidence that in the recent past, both parties did collect several thousand signatures on petitions to get on the Tennessee ballot.

This is very big for the Green Party, which would have had a very difficult time getting on the Tennessee ballot if the new ballot access law remained in place.

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Miglietta: “Parties Demand Room on Ballot”

John Miglietta, co-chair of the Green Party of Middle Tennessee, Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Fifth District seat in 2008 and 2010, and professor of political science at Tennessee State University has this piece in the Tennessean:

Third parties have played a significant role in American economic, social and political development. The Free Soil Party challenged slavery in the 1830s. Laws ending child labor, improving safety in the workplace, and giving workers living wages and benefits came about as a result from the reforms of the Progressive Party era.

Many of the New Deal reforms that saved American capitalism during the Great Depression originated with the Socialist Party. The current emphasis on limited government can be traced to the Libertarian Party ideology. Recent discussions of environmental, social justice and peace issues stem in part from the Green Party’s growth.

The two-party system developed during the early republic from coalitions within legislatures. As a result, the electoral system in the United States favors two large parties. These parties are more broad electoral coalitions than political parties with a distinct ideology and legislative agenda. The two-party system more often gives us gridlock than thoughtful, long-term public policy.

Election laws are written to maintain the position of the major parties. In many states, onerous restrictions are placed on third parties when they seek ballot access. Third-party candidates must spend the bulk of their resources just getting on the ballot, leaving no time or money to campaign.
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Green Party Central U.S. House Candidates 2010

There are 59 candidates running for the United States House of Representatives on November 2.

This is the third of three posts on Green Party House candidates, continuing with the Central portion of the United States.

Eastern US GP House Candidates
Western US GP House Candidates
GP US Senate Candidates
GP Governor Candidates

There are Green Party candidates running for US House in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Arkansas
Ken Adler (CD 1) - Adler was born and raised in Arkansas and served with the US Navy. He works in academic computing and is an avid bagpipe player. This is his first run for office.
Lewis Kennedy (CD 2) – Kennedy is a retired postal worker and veteran of the national guard, army, and army reserves. This is his first run for office.
Joshua Drake (CD 4) – Drake is an Arkansas lawyer specializing in family and consumer law. He ran for this same seat in 2008, finishing with 32,603 votes (13.8%).

Illinois
Jeff Adams (CD 1) – Adams is the Green Party candidate for Congress in the 1st District. He is a resident of the mid-South Side. This is his first run for office.
Anthony Williams (CD 2) – Williams is a husband, father, minister and activist. This is his first run for office.
Laurel Lambert Schmidt (CD 3) – Schmidt is a former insurance underwriter and free lance writer, co-founded and chair the Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice and was co-Director of the Peace Justice and Environment Project. This is her first run for office.
Robert Burns (CD 4) – Burns is an economist and did his PhD studies in Marxian Economics. He served as President of the South Loop Neighbors Association and was active on the board of Friends of Downtown. This is his first run for office.
Matt Reichel (CD 5) – Reichel is a Chicago native who has spent most of his adult life working on political or issue campaigns. He worked with Illinois Peace Action, organized on campus for divestment from corporations that fund nukes for Israel and organized against the wars in the middle east. He was also active with the 2008 Kucinich campaign. Reichel ran for this seat in 2009 in a special election after Rahm Emmanuel resigned, finishing with 2,911 votes (6.6%).
Bill Scheurer (CD 8) – Scheurer has worked as a lawyer, lay minister, and technology entrepreneur. He started another new business this year, after devoting 8 years as a fulltime volunteer for various nonprofit causes. This is his first run for office.
Simon Ribeiro (CD 9) – Ribeiro is a teacher, swimming instructor, and private tutor. He ran for Congress in 2006 but not as a Green. In 2009 he sought the Green Party nomination in the special election in the 5th District but lost in the primary to Matt Reichel.
Rodger Jennings (CD 12) - Jennings is a professional project manager in the private business sector with over 30 years of experience in Information Technology (IT) and in banking business practices. He was laid off in 2008, and ran for Congress that same year in opposition to NAFTA and other economic policies that cost him and others their jobs. In 2008 he finished with 10,931 votes (3.6%).
Daniel Kairis (CD 14) – Kairis is a teacher and former small business owner. He ran for State legislature in 2008, finishing with 2,108 (4.6%). In 2009 he ran for Elgin Township Supervisor, finishing with 631 votes (8.17%).
Terry Campbell (CD 16) – Campbell is the Illinois Green Party’s candidate for US House in the 16th District. This is his first run for office.
Roger Davis (CD 17) – Davis has been a prison guard, a laborer in the construction industry, a truck driver, a brick layer, and a tuck pointer. He has seven children. This is his first run for office.
Sheldon Schafer (CD 18) – Schafer is an educator and scientist and long time resident of the 18th congressional district. He ran for this same seat in 2008, finishing with 9,857 votes (3.2%).

Michigan
Ellis Boal (CD 1) – Boal is a Michigan lawyer specializing in labor and employment law. He has plenty of campaign experience. In 2004 he ran for County Board of Elections, finishing with 2,054 votes (18.4%). In 2006 he ran for County Commissioner, finishing with 43 votes (6.4%). In 2008 he ran for University of Michigan Board of Regents, finishing 7th with 102,158 votes (1.23%).
Lloyd Clarke (CD 2) – Clarke is a seasoned political activist and candidate, having participated in successful grassroots actions and candidacies since the 1960’s. He ran for County Commissioner in 2006, in 2008 he ran for State Senate, finishing with 2,326 votes (2%).
Charlie Shick (CD 3) – Shick is a single father working a blue-collar job. Michigan’s 3rd CD is an open seat, and Shick is clearly the most progressive and liberal option of the five candidates seeking the office. This is his first run for office.
J. Matthew de Heus (CD 5) – de Heus has a successful history in manufacturing, business, marketing, strategic planning and education. He currently serves on the board of two Michigan non-profits and is a member of groups as varied as the ACLU and the Mid-Michigan Songwriter’s Guild. This is his first run for office.
Pat Foster (CD 6) – Foster is a former Democrat with strong concerns about election integrity and voter rights. This is her first campaign as a Green Party candidate.
Richard Wunsch (CD 7) – Wunch, 70, is the owner of Volume I books in Hillsdale. Wunch last ran in 2003 for State House, finishing with 82 votes (1.27%).
Douglas Campbell (CD 9) - Campbell was a field coordinator for the 2000 Nader Campaign. Following that he ran for Governor of Michigan in 2002, finishing with 25,236 votes (1%). He ran for Governor again in 2006, then ran for the US House in 2008, finishing with 4,737 votes (1.35%).
Candace Caveny (CD 10) – Caveny is a volunteer with Planned Parenthood of Eastern Michigan ,and a member of the Lapeer County Equal Rights Alliance (LCERA) and the American Public Health Association. She ran for this same seat in 2008, finishing with 4,146 votes (1.19%).
Julia Williams (CD 12) – Williams is a “citizen-politician.” A mom, a wife, a nurse, a universal health care advocate, a person of conscience. This is her first run for office.
George Corsetti (CD 13) – Corsetti is a Michigan lawyer specializing in consumer law, free speech/political spying issues and criminal defense. He is also a film maker and local advocate for housing issues in Detroit. He ran for this same office in 2008, finishing with 9,579 votes (4.24%).
Aimee Smith (CD 15) – Smith has a PhD from MIT, member of the Huron Valley Greens and the New England Committee to Defend Palestine. Her first run for office was in 2003 running for City Council in Cambridge, MA, finishing with 465 votes (2.4%). She has run for this congressional seat in Michigan in 2006 (9,447, 4.6%) and 2008 (7,080, 2%).

Missouri
Nicholas Ladendorf (CD 7) – Ladendorf is a cartoonist and political activist. This is his first run for office. Ladendorf, in my opinion, has one of the most original and creative campaign websites I have ever seen.

Ohio
Rich Stevenson (CD 1) – Stevenson worked for the Ross Perot campaign in the 1990s, ran for Congress in 2000 as a Natural Law Party candidate, then ran for Congress in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 as an Independent.

Tennessee
John Miglietta (CD 5) – Miglietta is a Political Science Professor at Tennessee State, a member of Middle East Peace Coalition, Nashville Peace and Justice Center, and the Tennessee Alliance for Progress. He is also on the Tennessee Green Party State Coordinating Committee. He ran for this US House seat in 2008.

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Tennessee’s Oppressive Ballot Access Law Struck Down

GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES APPLAUD FEDERAL COURT’S DECISION ON BALLOT ACCESS

On September 20, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes, struck down Tennessee’s laws on how a previously unrecognized political party can get on the ballot. The case was filed by the Libertarian, Constitution and Green Parties of Tennessee on January 23, 2008. The decision states that the high number of signatures required for party ballot access taken together with the wording on the petition saying the signers are members of the party, along with an early filing deadline for the petition, are all unconstitutional. The judgment stated that it violates the plaintiffs’ right to vote and to associate as a political party, as well as Tennessee voters’ right of choice among political parties.

“The Green Party of Tennessee is delighted that the U.S. District Court in Nashville agrees that Tennessee’s ballot access laws are not fair and have effectively kept all other parties off of the ballot,” stated Howard Switzer, Green Party of Tennessee candidate for governor.
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Green Party has candidate on ballot for Tennessee governor

From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:

The Tennessee Green Party has placed Howard Switzer on the November 2010 ballot as an independent candidate for Governor. Tennessee has no other statewide races this year.

If the pending ballot access lawsuit wins, it is very likely the court will order that Switzer be put on the ballot as the Green Party nominee, instead of being labeled as an independent. The lawsuit was filed on January 23, 2008, in U.S. District Court. It has moved slowly, but all the evidence and the briefs have been submitted.

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Green Party electing national campaign committees

The Green Party National Committee (GNC) is voting on two proposals. If adopted, Proposal 378 will elect members to the Green House Campaign Committee (GHCC). This committee was created by the GNC by adopting Proposal 346. The committee rules, as adopted by the GNC, would seem to imply that a vacancy must be declared at once, and another election held to fill these posts within sixty days since only three candidates have sought the nine seats on the GHCC. Neither the proposal which established the rules for the GHCC, nor proposal 223, which established both the GHCC and the GSCC (Green Senatorial Campaign Committee), says whether write-in candidates will be elected to the committees in the event not enough candidates offer in the first place. The three candidates are: David McCorquodale (Delaware), Ann Link (New York), and Matthew Lavery (New York). Voting at this point shows that write-in candidate choices are being recorded.

Proposal 379 elects members of the GSCC. Unlike the GHCC race, all the slots on the GSCC will be filled as a result of the voting. Seven candidates have run for the seven seats available. These candidates are Anita Wessling (Arkansas), Paul McFarland (Arkansas), Gloria Mattera (New York), Chris Lugo (Tennessee), Ron Hardy (Wisconsin), Deb McFarland (Arkansas), and Josh Krekeler (Ohio). As of this writing there are no write-in votes.