The Green Party of Florida has high hopes of being able to control the City Commission of Lake Worth, which has four commissioners plus the mayor. Cara Jennings, a Green, serves on the commission along with an Independent who usually votes with Jennings. One of the other commissioners is up for re-election. The Green Party has a potential candidate who would have a good chance of winning the seat. Gaining a voting majority on the Lake Worth City Commission would be a real coup!
The McKinney/Clemente campaign is stirring up lots of excitement among Florida Greens. McKinney has made several appearances in Florida, and more are planned. Florida Greens using listserves, personal solicitations, Web sites, and phone banking conducted an intensive fundraising drive. The goal of $5,000 toward matching funds eluded them, but $4,300 went into the coffers of the campaign.
At the state convention in May, Jayne King, who has considerable experience in political party organizing, was elected co-chair. Subsequently, the state has been divided into four regions, each with its own regional coordinator. The coordinators will be contacting all registered Greens in their region, assessing their interests and plugging them into active locals or urging them to form a local. Based on the information gathered, the regional coordinators will contact locals in their region, giving them the necessary data for contacting the Greens who have expressed interest. Florida Greens are growing!
The Illinois Green Party has had a tremendous response for those wanting to run for office on three levels of government: U.S. Congress, the Illinois General Assembly (state legislature), and county races. Illinois Greens are excited by this response; we are looking forward to the outcomes of these races as well as preparing for 2009 consolidated races and the 2010 election. The ILGP is running a record number of candidates, for everything from U.S. and Illinois State Senate and House to county board, stateís attorney, and circuit clerk.
The ILGP also lost one of our own recently. Vic Roberts, Green Party candidate for 19th Congress, died peacefully in his home the morning of July 5. Vic had participated in the Taylorville 4th of July Parade earlier in the day and seemed fine, so he was truly fighting the Green fight until the end. Vic was a retired coal miner, and was known for wearing his distinctive coal minerís helmet on the campaign trail, a symbol of the ìeveryday way of life of the laboring class people.î He was a longtime member of the United Mine Workers of America, and served in the US Air Force. He was 75 when he passed away.
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The Indiana Green Party will hold its annual congress September 27/28 at Wabash, Indiana. Both members and non-members are invited to the Saturday workshops and forums. Sunday will be devoted mostly to state party business with voting on bylaw changes and new proposals, and the election of officers and National Committee delegates for the coming year.
Founders of a newly formed Outreach committee will be presenting plans and ideas for achieving ballot access in Indiana in 2010. Open discussions will also take place about how to implement such planning and to increase state membership and establish new locals.
While Indiana does not have ballot access for this yearís presidential election, paperwork has been received at the Elections Division office certifying Cynthia McKinney as a write-in candidate.
The Green Party of Michigan evoked the memory of Eugene V. Debs by nominating jailed Benton Harbor community activist Rev. Edward Pinkney for Congress at the partyís 2008 Nominating Convention in Marshall.
Pinkney is one of 10 GPMI candidates so far who will run for Congress, and 17 in total nominated at the convention. They will all join the Green presidential ticket of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, founder of the National Hip-Hop Convention, on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
Pinkney will run for the 6th District seat now held by Fred Upton, scion of the family that founded Whirlpool. Pinkney has opposed the corporationís influence on local government and the plans of Whirlpool-led institutions to take Jean Klock Park away from the people of Benton Harbor for a golf course priced for the wealthy.
He is now sitting in state prison in Jackson awaiting appeal on a 3 to 10 year sentence for alleged mishandling of four absent-voter ballots in a 2005 recall election of a city commissioner who supported Whirlpoolís plans. That verdict came after one mistrial with a deadlocked jury, and despite an affidavit by one former prosecution witness saying the recalled commissioner had offered him $10 to say Pinkney had paid $5 for his vote. The Berrien County courts also overturned the recall, even though it had passed by over 50 votes.
The convention also nominated one candidate for the State Board of Education and one for each of the three state university boards (University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State University).
The Nebraska Green Party has six candidates on the ballot this November and is fighting for five percent of the statewide vote. NGP candidates for 2008 in Partisan elections are Steven R. Larrick, U.S. Senate; Scott Hoffman, for Douglas County Board, District 1; Derek Glaser for District 3; Susan Koneck for District 5. Laverne Thraen has filed for the nonpartisan Omaha Public Power District Board of Directors Metro District, and Doug Paterson is a candidate for Public Service Commission District 2 in Omaha. Recently, we were fortunate to have SKCM Curry, a McKinney campaign manager, visit and promote Nebraskaís Green Party candidates at a multicultural march for justice rally in North Omaha. Besides ceaselessly working on the campaigns, the NGP is pushing for Instant Runoff Voting in all of our universities and municipalities.
Rick Lass is running for the State Public Regulation Commission. The Green Party local in Santa Fe County recruited Lass after all four progressive Democrats lost to a candidate who received only 23 percent of the vote. Santa Fe local members collected more than 3,300 petition signatures and 500 individual $5 donation in two weeks to beat the filing deadlines for candidacy and public financing. The five-seat commission affects all New Mexico citizens importantly because it regulates utilities, transportation, insurance, energy, et al. Lassí platform includes reducing the influence of corporations in order to provide fair rates and reliable services, and a sustainable economy based on clean, safe, and affordable renewable energy sources. Progressives across the political spectrum are supporting Lass, including a ìDemocrats for Rick Lassî group. One special challenge is to motivate Democrats and Republicans to go beyond the straight party voting allowed in New Mexico.
Besides campaigning for Lass, the Santa Fe local sponsors a monthly film and discussion on a Green issue at a local movie theater. Its plans for in 2009 to include a campaign for localizing the economy, starting with forums on creating a fossil-fuel-free Santa Fe County.
On August 1 the Green Party of Pennsylvania submitted a nomination paper to the Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation in Harrisburg to place the names of Green Party candidates on the ballot in November, bringing signature collection to a close. Success this season was mixed. The GPPA got sufficient signatures to qualify all of our local candidates to appear on the ballot; however, we received too few signatures statewide to get presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney and vice-presidential candidate Rosa Clemente on the Pennsylvania ballot.
Fortunately, we are fielding five local candidates this year: Christopher ìTitusî North, 14th Congressional District; Jonah McAllister-Erickson, 21st Pennsylvania General Assembly District; Mary E. ìLizî Hughes, 23rd General Assembly District; Jay Sweeney, 111th General Assembly District; and Guy Gray for 133rd General Assembly District.
Getting these candidates on the ballot was an accomplishment. Thank you all Green volunteers who did get out and actively collect signatures to help achieve this, including several Greens from neighboring states of Maryland and Delaware. In particular, Pennsylvania wants to recognize Tim Willard who spent four days over two weekends in Philadelphia, and out-of-staters Brian Bittner and Dave McCorquodale who each spent two days in Pennsylvania.
The Green Party of Utah worked statewide toward a Sept. 3 Independent Candidate ballot access deadline for Cynthia McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente. McKinney added her name to the Utah ballot the day of the deadline.
Green Party of Utah members are gearing up to attend the November vigil of the School of the Americas Watch at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
The new Moab Local continues its work on environmental issues, drawing attention to the annexation of the Lions Back Resort Development and the effects this will have on the city of Moabís water supply, road access (effects on recreation and traffic access as well as emergency equipment and vehicles), and the potential loss of revenue to Moab from decreased tourism. The Moab Local continues to work on moratoriums on other development while also addressing appropriations for oil shale and the Colorado River Compact, water rights issues for uranium mills, federal water rights concerning Canyonlands National Park and protection of stream flows, and the development of the Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency Interlocal Agreement in southern Utah.
The Green Party of Virginia, as of this writing, is nearing the final stages of its ballot access drive, with more than 8,000 of the 10,000 signatures needed. Co-Chair Audrey Clement, in particular, has been burning up the charts, with over 5,000 of these signatures to her name, earning her the award for ìOutstanding Petitionerî at the recent Chicago convention. On the downside, the state party currently has a high number of vacancies in its committee chairperson positions, a situation it is hoped will be resolved at its next state meeting.
[Editorís Note: the GPV obtained ballot access and the McKinney/Clemente ticket will be on the ballot.]
The National Lavender Green Caucus held an in-person meeting July 10 during the 2008 Presidential Nominating Convention in Chicago. Some topics discussed included gay marriage, visibility and developing a timeline for 2009 Lavender events, support of the 2008 presidential campaign, and developing new materials for the Lavender Caucus. Some goals of the Lavender Caucus will be to develop new informational materials, develop new promotional materials like buttons and banners, and find new ways to involve and communicate with our membership. The caucus also hopes to expand its membership, and support the development of state Lavender groups. The National Lavender Caucus was awarded four delegates to the Presidential Nominating Convention; all four went to Cynthia McKinney.
New officers for 2008 are Starlene Rankin and Jay Parks, co-chairs; Tim Casebolt, secretary; David Strand, national committee delegate, and Antonio DíLallo, national committee alternate. The NLGC also elected the following committee representatives: Diversity, Cyndi Norwitz and Fred Bays; Merchandising, Fred Bays; and International Committee, Rocky Neptun and Jay Parks. The NLGC also changed its bylaws to allow for two co-chairs with alternating terms, rather than one single chair.
From across the country, young people gather to start a new age in progressive youth politics. Dubbed ìYoung Greens of America,î or YGA, the group aims to promote the Green Partyís agenda to college students and young adults across the country. The Green Partyís national convention saw the creation of the new organization as well as the election of its first officers.
ìThis is an exciting day,î said Adrian Frost, chairman of YGA. ìFinally, thereís a strong, vibrant alternative to the two major political parties.î
The core philosophy of the Young Greens of America is the Green Partyís Ten Key Values.
ìBeing Green is about more than protecting the environment,î said Andrew Valkanas, secretary of YGA. ìGreen, to me, is as much about health, fairness, and money as it is about clean air and clean water.î
Unlike similar youth political groups, YGA isnít just about assisting the main party. Young Greens of America boasts members in key positions of both state Green Parties and in the Green Party of the United States, as well as active political candidates in this yearís elections. ìIn Illinois alone,î said Chairman Frost, ìabout a third of the candidates running for office as Greens either are, or are eligible, to be members of YGA.î
Full membership in YGA is open to anyone under 35 who agrees with the Green Partyís Ten Key Values. Chapters of YGA are opening across the country in high schools, universities, towns, counties, and cities. Any three YGA members can form a chapter, and chapters formed around campus communities will continue to be called Campus Greens. Existing Campus Greens are already joining the new organization, and almost every state has an organizing effort underway.