State & Committee Reports – September 2010
Let the world know what good work your state Green members are doing and you may get new members ñ write a report for the next issue of Green Pages
by Jack Ailey, treasurer, ILGP
Since the primary on Feb. 2, our 50 plus candidates have been busy preparing for the general election, raising funds, working on their websites, and appearing at public events. For a complete list of recognized Illinois Green Party candidates, see our website. We had the first of two statewide membership meetings for 2010 in April at Chicago State University on the South Side of Chicago. Next on the schedule is our big political convention and rally the weekend of July 30, 31, and August 1, at the campus of Loyola University on the North Side of Chicago.
We are fully expecting this election cycle to be record breaking in Illinois. For one thing, we have a realistic possibility of electing the first Green Party Governor in the nation. We say this because of the huge political crisis in both the Democratic and Republican Parties in this state. The last Republican Governor is in jail and the last elected Democratic Governor is headed to jail. There is a $13 Billion hole in the state budget. Vital social services such as school funding are being cut viciously. Teachers are being laid off and state universities are hiking their tuition.
The Democratic nominee proposes borrowing to pay some of these bills and postponing payment on others. The Republican nominee apparently doesn’t care about education or social services and just wants to cut more. The only serious plan to solve this problem comes from our Green Party candidate, Rich Whitney. He proposes a total reform of our taxing system so those with the money to pay, pay more, and we quit trying to base our state finances on those least able to pay. See Rich Whitney’s website for his 20 page paper explaining his plan in detail, www.whitneyforgov.org.
State Committee members in Maine hold their meeting
by Jacqui Deveneau, National Committee delegate, MGIP
This has been quite a year for the Maine Green Independent Party (MGIP). We started out with a strong campaign to get Lynne Williams on the ballot for governor, only to run into some new laws that made it impossible to get the Clean Elections money. In making a substantial effort to raise the money we needed by the new laws, we fell short of getting the needed signatures.
However Lynne was able to step from one campaign into a race in her district for state senate and was able to raise her Clean Elections money. Lynne along with 14 other Greens will be running for office this year. We are fortunate also, we just need to have 10,000 Greens vote in the November elections to keep Party status.
On a sad note, we had one of our very active MGIP Greens, Jack Harrington, pass away. He was not only himself running for State House Rep, but also on the MGIP State Committee and was on the National Committee, as well as most of our other MGIP Committees. He will be greatly missed by all.
May 1st we held our MGIP Convention at a Grange Hall in Greene, Maine. It was well attended, at which we voted in our new State Committee, which with the exception of Jon Olsen [whom is Co-Chair of the National Merchandise Committee] are all under 30 years of age. It is so good to see this group of motivated youth stepping up. The new SC members are: Erin Cianchette – Chair; Tony Zeli – Treasurer; Jeremy Hammond – Scribe; Anna Trevorrow, Asher Platts, Nate Shea, and Jon Olsen.
Moving forward we have plans in place to grow the MGIP through hard work, getting lists vetted and new County and Town Committees up and running. One of our new SC members, Asher Platts, has some wonderful ideas around the use of the Internet groups such as You Tube and Facebook.
We will have our presence at the Gay Pride Parade and Festival as we do every year. We will also be tabling: the Medical Marijuana Conference June 5th, the huge State Common Ground Fair in September, and tabling to help the Veterans For Peace, which was founded here in Maine, to celebrate their 25th Anniversary in August with former Green presidential candidate David Cobb coming to speak.
It is not easy being Green, you have hurtles at every turn to deal with. But I take heart to the fact that even after all these years the Dems and Reps are still so afraid of us that they will keep finding new ways to try to block us. It means that we are gaining ground and it is my firm belief that the harder you make it for me to do what is right the harder I am going to fight. Quiting is not an option for me. I am proud to be a Green. And personally proud to say I am a Maine Green.
Last Saturday the Maryland Green Party held its annual assembly at the historic Maryland Inn in Annapolis. Greens from across the state considered candidates seeking the nomination of the Green Party for fall elections, elected new party officers, and heard a keynote address from Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper and plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against Perdue Chicken.
Three candidates seeking the Green Party nomination for fall elections spoke to the assembled party members. Natasha Pettigrew of Cheverly is seeking the party’s nomination for United States Senate. Natasha is currently a law student at the University of Maryland, and is taking a leave of absence in anticipation of running against Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Mike Shay of Shady Side was nominated for Anne Arundel County Executive by the Anne Arundel County chapter of the party, for which he received front-page coverage in a recent issue of The (Annapolis) Capital. He is seeking approval from state party officers to be placed on the general election ballot.
Under state law the Green Party may not run candidates in taxpayer-funded Maryland primary elections. The party considers this exclusionary and continues to work for equal treatment under state election laws. The party is also working to collect 10,000 valid signatures of registered voters to stay ballot-qualified after this year’s elections. Minor parties are required by state law to petition for ballot access, while the Democratic and Republican parties are not.
George Gluck of Rockville is seeking the party’s nomination for an at-large Montgomery County Council seat. In a special election in 2009, Gluck received 3.5 percent of the vote in the 4th District.
Kathy Phillips of Ocean City spoke to the assembled party members about her work as an Assateague Coastkeeper and the difficulties of enforcing the Clean Water Act on the Eastern Shore. She is pursuing legal action against evasion of laws meant to limit emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
The party also elected officers to annual terms. Brian Bittner of Baltimore and Karen Jennings of Annapolis were elected chairs. Shanna Borell of Baltimore was elected treasurer. Robb Tufts of Churchton was elected membership coordinator, and Robert Smith of Crofton was elected recording secretary.
The party officers and representatives from county chapters meet on a monthly basis. The Maryland Green Party has been ballot-qualified since 2002 and is a state affiliate of the Green Party of the United States. The Green Party of the United States is recognized by the Federal Election Commission as the national committee of the Green Party, and has nominated David Cobb (2004), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (2008) and Ralph Nader (2000) for President of the United States. The Green Party is currently running over fifty candidates for federal office.
For further comment, please call 443-449-4159 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is fully supporting of five main candidates heading for the November ballot. Dr. Jill Stein is making her second bid for governor, entering a field that includes an incumbent Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. Stein is the only candidate in the race who supports single-payer health care, public campaign financing, stopping the wars, keeping gambling casinos out of the state, and creating a progressive tax system. Steinís spacious storefront office in Bostonís Dorchester neighborhood is rapidly becoming a hotbed of green organizing.
Over a two-month period in April and May, Steinís support in statewide polls more than doubled to 8 percent – a trend that was tremendously encouraging to supporters. ìWe are in a race with three conventional politicians who are splitting the business-as-usual vote,î Stein says. ìBy election day, we are going to be the clear alternative for voters who have had enough of bailouts, layoffs, ripoffs, and payoffs.î
Steinís running mate is community activist, Rick Purcell, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm who spent the first 13 years of his life living on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. Purcell says he is ìjust an ordinary guy trying to do an extraordinary thing.î
The Green-Rainbow candidate for state auditor is Nat Fortune, a physics professor at Smith College and a long-time town school committee member. ìEvery candidate for auditor should be committed to rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse of funds,î Fortune said. ìBut that is just the beginning of the job. An auditor should be asking if our expenditures are really working for the people – or if theyíre only benefiting the lobbyists and insiders. As someone who is independent of the big political machines who made the deals, I can promise voters a full and objective review of each questionable expenditure.î
State representative candidate Scott Laugenour is running hard in the 4th Berkshire district. Laugenour views his campaign for state representative as ìan opportunity to tip the scales towards new solutions – towards vibrant, green, forward-looking politics and public policy.î And running strong in an adjoining district (3rd Berkshire) is Mark Miller, a former journalist and newspaper co-owner who has long been involved with health care and justice issues.
The Green Party of Tennessee held its statewide meeting and nominating convention on February 20, 2010 in Knoxville at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. It was a spirited meeting, and a great deal of state business was concluded. In addition, the TN Greens unanimously nominated John Miglietta as the Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives 5th district. The TN 5th district encompasses most of the city of Nashville and parts of two neighboring counties. The Green Party of Tennessee also anticipates running a candidate for Governor. Howard Switzer, who previously ran in 2006 for Governor, is our likely candidate.
The Green Party of Tennessee is still striving for ballot access as a party. We are one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit, together with the Constitution and Libertarian parties, against the state of Tennessee. The lawsuit is currently before a judge and we anticipate a ruling in the near future. The Green Party of Tennessee continues to sponsor the Green Hour Radio Show on Radio Free Nashville, www.radiofreenashville.org. WRFN is a low power community radio station broadcasting to Nashville and the surrounding area. You can tune into the Green Hour 7:00 PM Sundays, central time.
We are Green and Growing in Tennessee!!
by Christine Morshedi, Co-chair of Green Party of Texas
Greens in Texas are celebrating a great victory! On May 24, 2010, over 93,000 signatures on a petition requesting that Green Party candidates be placed on the ballot were turned in to the Secretary of State. Although we await formal certification, these signatures are double the number specified in the Texas election code. We fully expect that the enthusiasm encountered from the general public during the ballot-access drive will turn into success at the polls in November. At least one of our statewide candidates has a good chance to receive more than 5 percent of the vote, which would allow us to retain ballot access and recruit a broader range of candidates in 2012.
The bulk of the ballot-access signatures submitted were received as a donation-in-kind; a non-partisan petitioning company collected them in a whirlwind last-minute collection effort. In addition, this year the Green Party of Texas (GPTX) broke new ground by collecting petition signatures online. Since Texas law allows electronic signatures in business and contractual contexts, we believe digital signatures should be allowed for civic speech as well. If the state claims that our pen-and-ink signatures are insufficient, we are prepared to defend the supplementary e-signatures in court. If successful, we will set a precedent for parties in other states.
On the activism front, Greens across Texas continue collaborating with a variety of groups in support of Green progressive causes. We seek to transform our society from one that acts through confrontation and is in continuous fear of those who are different to a society which values diversity, cares for each other and the planet we call home.
On May 24, Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of Virginia, and John Reeder, convener of the Arlington Greens, filed a brief with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging an April 30 federal district court decision dismissing their suit to stop the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. The two Greens have challenged the widening of I-66 in Arlington as a violation of federal environmental law, and a breach of the legal agreement that permitted the construction of the four-lane highway through Arlington some 30 years ago.
Virginia Governor McDonnel recently trumpeted the fact that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) had awarded a $10.2 million contract for the first phase of the so-called Spot Improvement Project, known as Spot 1. But Clement and Reeder argued VDOT misrepresented the findings of the 2005 I-66 Feasibility Study to justify the project, when it actually recommended end-to-end road widening. They stated the decision to back away from the Feasibility Study’s principal recommendation was based on political considerations rather than sound engineering.
Clement and Reeder also predicted the three entrance-to-exit merge lanes to be constructed in Arlington County won’t relieve congestion on I-66, because 90 percent of westbound traffic travels beyond the Arlington exits. They also criticized the fact that VDOT rejected 17 out of 21 noise barriers recommended by its own noise consultant and denied the public an opportunity to speak at workshops held in 2007.
For more information, contact John Reeder at firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring 2010 saw the Bylaws Committee conducting hearings on a proposal sponsored by Nan Garrett of Georgia, to provide rules to govern the Platform revision process. Earlier bylaws changes moved the Party from a four-year to a two-year cycle for the consideration of changes to the national Platform. It is anticipated that sessions planned for the Annual Meeting in Detroit will allow for debate on the 80 plus amendments offered by the member State Parties and Caucuses. And if rules endorsed by the Bylaws committee and offered to the National Committee as proposal #455 are adopted, voting on those proposed changes should wrap up in early August. The schedule was chosen to permit the publication of a new national platform in time to support the 2010 Congressional slate in the Fall elections.
Since last year’s convention in Durham, a revitalized Fundraising Committee (Fundcom) has been working hard, not just to bring in money, but to build a stronger financial foundation, better communication, and more cooperation between GPUS and state parties.
We began at the end of 2009 with a drive to raise our number of sustaining donors to 500. While we have not yet reached that goal, we have increased the number of sustainers from about 300 to 450.
In May, we held our first ìvirtual phone bankî jointly with the Green Party of New York State, with members making fundraising calls from their homes and sharing information and solidarity via an online chatroom. We are working on an Organizing Kit, bringing together the collective wisdom and experience of Greens around the country. Details of the phone bank and the Organizing Kit will be unveiled at the national meeting in Detroit.
Shout outs are in order to committee member, Bill Kreml (ILGP), who has raised thousands of dollars by convincing members who have loaned money to GPUS to forgive part or all of their loans; Brian Bittner (staff and member of the Green Party of Maryland) who has initiated ìFive Dollar Fridays,î where we ask for small donations through Facebook and Twitter; and Brent McMillan, our Political Director, who raises a large chunk of our national budget himself, in addition to supporting our committee and doing many other things to build the Green Party. Jody Grage (Washington State) and Jeff Turner (Hawaii) also serve on the Finance Committee and have helped the two committees work together more.
New members are always welcome! Please contact the chair for more information.
Karen Young, Chair GPUS Fundcom, Green Party of New York State