State Reports

State Reports

FLORIDA

steve-wilkieDuring this quarter, the Green Party of Florida (GPF) focused on outreach into our communities. Many of Florida’s citizens are concerned with the state’s economy, jobs, and the failing real estate market. The Greens want to create a shift into problem solving, with a focus on solar energy, green jobs, community gardens, health-care, and boosting the state’s local economies. They oppose nuclear plants and oil drilling in coastal waters. Outreaching into metro areas and remaining active in many causes, Greens stayed visible by: attending meetings, organizing and taking part in fundraisers, calling into radio shows, social networking online, and tabling at events. Many people are getting in touch with local Greens and want to know more about the party and what they can do to get active and help.

The GPF is experiencing new growth with a strong new local in Brevard County and new groups becoming active in Seminole, Volusia, and Pinellas counties, as well as the Tallahassee metro area and Hillsborough/University of South Florida Campus.

In early December, Greens attended a nuclear power teach-in with Mary Olson of Nuclear Information and Resource Services (NIRS). It was held in the woods in Marion County close to the projected site for a new Nuclear Power Plant on pristine wetlands of Levy County. Within days, Mary Olson and Miami Greens also attended protest actions against the expansion of the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant near Miami, Florida. On December 11th, a Nuclear Power 101 workshop and benefit for NIRS was held in Alachua and on December 13th, a well-attended solar and alternative energy expo was held in Spring Hill. Greens are on the front lines of the anti-nuclear movement in Florida, where there are plans to build four new reactors. Greens have endorsed the HANDS ACROSS THE SAND event on February 13, 2010, a statewide action to protest lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling. Also see:?http://www.facebook.com/pages/Floridians-Against-Big-Oil/134043516320 http://www.facebook.com/pages/FLORIDIANS-AGAINST-NUCLEAR-POWER/183645416241

nicholas-ruizExciting things are happening for the New Year including plans for lobbying representatives in Tallahassee and Washington, and a creative concept for a new radio show. Florida Greens are also stepping forward to run for office. Steve Wilkie is running for Congress in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, and Nicholas Ruiz is running in Congressional District 24. Cara Jennings is a twice-elected City Commissioner in Lake Worth. Javier Del Sol ran a creative race for Mayor of Lake Worth, winning ìBest Yard Signsî award which were recycled signs from previous campaigns and painted by the children and members of the community. Javier placed fourth in the election, with 12% of the vote. Anita Stewart has formed an exploratory committee for Hillsborough County Soil & Water District position (Tampa), with the anticipation of moving ahead with a formal campaign in February. Her website is in the works.

For information on these and other happenings of the Green Party of Florida, check out the calendar and list of events on the state’s website: http://www.floridagreens.org/

ILLINOIS

Illinois is in a huge budget crisis. Social service agencies have been cut and those who are eligible for benefits are waiting months for payments. There is about a twelve billion dollar hole in the budget that the governor and the state legislature refuse to deal with. Since 2006, the Illinois Green Party has been advocating a plan to reform the tax structure so that education and social services can be adequately funded. There is a need to decrease reliance on property taxes and raise the income tax on the wealthier people. (Check out Rich Whitney’s website at www.whitneyforgov.org for full details on this plan.

The Illinois Green Party has a large contingent of candidates in the 2010 election cycle. For details, please see ìDozens of Candidates file for Green Party Primary in Illinoisî by Jack Ailey, published in the ìElectionsî section of this issue of Green Pages. In addition to these candidates, there are other people who have filed for the primary as Green Party candidates who are not members of the Illinois Green Party. The election law in Illinois, as in numbers of other states, allows anyone who collects the required number of signatures to get on the ballot as a candidate of any party. In some of these cases, these people may be good people or they may be objectionable. The Green Party activists simply donít know them. †In a couple of cases, they are far from representing Green Party values. In one case, Illinois Greens challenged the petitions of a particularly objectionable person and got him removed from the ballot. His positions were so far opposed to everything the Green Party stands for that the party felt it necessary to employ legal options to remove him as a Green Party candidate. At the time of this report, the Green Party of Illinois had not made a decision as to how the other unknown candidates would be handled.

Please visit www.ilgp.org for more information.

INDIANA

The Indiana Green Party plans to run a candidate on the ballot for state representative in 2010. There are other Greens who are considering running in 2011 for partisan local races. While statewide ballot access is difficult in Indiana, most local races require only a few hundred signatures. The Indiana Green Party is also lobbying for ballot access reform and working with other new parties and non-partisan organizations to find a legislative sponsor for ballot access reform.

The Indiana Green Party needs help building the membership and recruiting candidates to run in races to achieve ballot access. By running in local races, the hope is that some day the party will have the strength to run statewide candidates and achieve statewide ballot access by polling 2 percent in the race for Secretary of State.

Local chapters of the Indiana Green Party can be found in LaPorte (Duneland Greens), Terre Haute (Vigo County Greens), Indianapolis (Marion County Greens), South Bend (St. Joe Valley Greens), and Oldenburg (Village Greens). Indiana also has an unaffiliated caucus for Hoosier Greens without a local chapter to join.

Greens looking to start a local, or just connect with the state party, should visit our website at http://indianagreenparty.org.

MAINE

The Maine Green Independent Party (MGIP) has been busy, busy, busy.

2010 ushers in the next gubernatorial cycle, and Maineís Green Independent Party is rallying around Bar Harbor Attorney, former chair of the MGIP, and longtime social and environmental activist, Lynne Williams. There are new hurtles this year, with legislation passed last session amending Maineís Clean Elections law to require candidates to raise $40,000 in seed money from in-state donors in increments not to exceed $100. The legislation undoubtedly targets the Green Partyís participation in the race for Governor, but it also inspires the Party to send elected Greens to Augusta, our capitol.

This new energy has driven the MGIP to an organized, statewide candidate recruitment effort for legislative offices. The Party plans to run more Green House and Senate candidates in 2010 than it has in years, and has already begun surveying Greens and solidifying candidates.

The gubernatorial campaign and legislative recruitment efforts have overlapped nicely with the caucus organizing effort, and it is looking like 2010 will host more caucuses throughout the state than in recent years, bringing in new found Greens and building the Partyís infrastructure.

Municipally, we are excited about the work of our Green Councilors, School Board Members, Charter Commissioners, and Planning Board Members, who continue to implement Green policies in local government. The newly elected Charter Commissioners in Portland, Maineís largest city, are advocating for exciting policy ideas such as instant run-off voting for municipal races and expanding voting rights to immigrants.

Membership is up to over 33,000 in Maine, and 2010 promises to bring more success to the Maine Green Independent Party. The MGIP wishes all state parties and the GPUS a fruitful 2010. For more information on the Maine Green Independent Party, please contact Anna Trevorrow at anna@mainegreens.org.

MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi is one of five states that do not have net metering laws. The Green Party of Mississippi (GP MS) is working to change that. Net metering means electricity generated for home or business from a clean source such as solar or wind and contributed to the grid, should be counted against the power bill and the excess credited at the same rate. It is long past time Mississippi joined states such as Louisiana, Colorado, and New Jersey that are reaping tremendous benefits in green jobs, economic prosperity, energy independence, public health, and a clean environment because they have responsible, well-crafted net metering laws.

On January 7, the GP MS held a press conference in the state capitol to promote such a law. Former Green gubernatorial candidate Sherman Lee Dillon recorded the conference and Secretary William Ashley Vaughan moderated. Speakers gave brief talks from their individual perspectives on the benefits of net metering. Caleb Dana, environmental consultant, engineer for Eco Systems Inc., and activist for solar power since 1973, explained the need for a responsible net metering law. James R. Wade, president and CEO of Alternate Energy Solutions of Biloxi told how net metering could help his solar contracting business by making it easier for his clients to recoup the cost of installing solar panels. Jagdeo Singh, CEO of Alliance Electric of Laurel called net metering an incentive for Mississippi to rely on solar to increase its power generation to meet future energy demands. Luke Lundemo and Michael Gentry of Rainbow Co-op in Jackson discussed how net metering would help a small business such as theirs, retrofit for solar. Mississippi Public Broadcasting and the Jackson Free Press attended the conference.

For more information on the Green Party of Mississippi go to: www.greenpartyms.org. or contact: greenpartyms@hotmail.com

MISSOURI

midge_pottsThe Progressive Party of Missouri met at the annual statewide meeting in Columbia, Missouri, on October 5, 2009. It was decided at that meeting to once again gather the 10,000 valid signatures needed to get on the Missouri ballot for the upcoming 2010 election. The party has an excellent candidate who will be seeking the nomination to run for US Senate ñ Midge Potts from Springfield, Missouri. †Midge has pledged to run a vigorous campaign, travel throughout the state, and help grow the Progressive Party in Missouri. Others are also being recruited to run on the party line. One of the statewide candidates will have to garner 2 percent of the vote in November to get ballot access for the Progressive Party of Missouri.

With Pottsí organizational talent, Springfield has become one of the more active locals, making a total of five active locals in the state. The Greens in Kansas City have been active in Single Payer Health Care Reform, Transition ñ KC, and in a Better Ballot KC Initiative to support Instant Runoff Voting, which has been endorsed by the state party. Greens are at the forefront of planning for a Transition Fair to be held in 2010 in Kansas City.

For more information, please contact Dee Berry at dberry7@sbcglobal.net.

PENNSYLVANIA

The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) will be holding its 2010 Nominating Convention, February 20-21, just outside Pittsburgh. In addition to a state business meeting and formal nomination of candidates, the convention will present issue-based and skill-building workshops including a full-day campaign school. Hugh Esco of the Georgia Green Party and Campaign Foundations will be leading the campaign school. The convention will also stage a fundraising dinner featuring Mel Packer, a prominent local peace activist who is considering a run for Senate on the Green Party ticket.

GPPA continues to focus on opposition to natural gas drilling in the state and support of a ballot access bill that would equalize requirements between major and minor parties. The party plans a press conference connecting ballot access to the state “bonusgate” scandal in Harrisburg on Feb. 1.

For more information please contact Hillary Kane at hillarya@pobox.upenn.edu.

WASHINGTON STATE

The Green Party of Washington State (GPoWS) held a convention January 30, to formally reconstitute the state party. The convention was a working assembly, grappling with many important questions facing our nation and the Green Party of Washington State. Topics of immediate concern included growing local chapters, upcoming electoral work and outreach.

Despite the best hopes in our first African American president, we have an escalation of war in Afghanistan, a continuing war in Iraq, high unemployment, millions facing foreclosure, a health care plan written by insurance lobbyists, and billions in bailouts to Wall St. All of this is reflected in Washington State’s massive budget deficit, and shredding of the social safety net. As the crisis deepens in Washington, the GPoWS is stepping up to the plate to speak out on this a come up with an action plan.

For additional information call 360-683-0867. Mail may be addressed to:

GPoWS
PO Box 95575
Seattle, WA
98145

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