State Reports – Dec 2007
The Green Party of Delaware held its annual meeting open to all registered Greens on May 19, 2007. Although attendance was lower than previous years, those present discussed the future of the party and how to maintain a presence until activity increased.
Mostly importantly, members for the Coordinating Council (CC), the state party’s central organization, were chosen. The CC had seen the loss of all but one of its members from the previous year due to various circumstances. GPDE still needs to fill the roles of a second national delegate and editor of its communications bulletin, The Green Diamond.
The Progressive Party of Missouri, at its statewide meeting on April 14, 2007, officially changed its name to Green Party of Missouri. The party had been using the name “Progressive Party” for many years to avoid conflict with another unaffiliated party in the state with the name Missouri Green Party. “We’re all very excited to be using the Green Party name,” said Dee Berry, party co-chair. “We believe that it will eliminate confusion with voters and ultimately increase Green party interest and membership in Missouri.”
It’s been a busy spring in Montana. The Montana Green Party has been accredited by the GPUS this year and is now represented on the Green National Committee.
The MGP had its Annual Meeting in Bozeman on April 21. The main focus of the meeting was the signature drive to get back on the ballot. Five thousand signatures are needed. While that doesn’t sound like much, there are less than a million people in Montana.
Steve Kelly, the MGP Coordinator and an artist, drew a logo, which will be on a brochure that will be given out when collecting signatures. The brochure will also contain the Ten Key Values, a short history of the MGP, the website address, and a form for people to join the party and to give money.
Members discussed what issues were most important to Montanans that Green candidates should address. It was agreed they should focus on single payer healthcare, energy efficiency and what individuals can do such as making houses more energy efficient, and Fast Track. According to Public Citizen, Fast Track gives the executive branch the authority to negotiate and write trade agreements, and removes Congress’ constitutional power to set the terms of U.S. trade policy. Fast Track, which passed in 2002, gave Bush the ability to make trade deals with other countries without the approval of Congress. Congress does get to vote on Fast Track as it approaches termination. Montana, which exports grain and beef, is vastly affected by Fast Track.
Candidates were also discussed, but the MGP needs to secure ballot access before making final decisions on candidates.
During a break in the annual meeting Montana Greens joined the Bozeman Peace Seekers in their regular Saturday Peace event before returning to the library to continue discussions while eating lunch.
The Green Party of North Carolina (NCGP) held its Spring Gathering on May 19 in Pittsboro. Reports from six locals showed Greens to be active in social justice and environmental initiatives across the state as well as working to grow the party and gain ballot access. A series of open-source meetings successfully generated new ideas to address membership rules, diversity, fundraising, instant runoff voting and coalition building.
NCGP has joined a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party against the state of North Carolina. They are charging that the state is in violation of its constitution by inhibiting free and fair elections. The ACLU is representing the parties pro bono.
A second lawsuit is being initiated to help secure ballot access for Kai Schwandes’s upcoming run for state legislature in House District 11. Plans were discussed to once again get a bill introduced to lower the signature requirements for new parties, similar to two bills from the past two years, which had found a lot of support before they were killed or rewritten.
New officers for the upcoming year: Jan Martell and Kai Schwandes are co-chairs; Bob Ciocan, vice chair; Bob Cubbler, secretary; Kathryn Kuppers, treasurer; Gray Newman and Jan Martell continue as delegates to the GPUS NC; Kai Schwandes and Elena Everett are alternates; Kai Schwandes was approved as a member of the GPUS Apportionment Committee.
After a bruising year in 2006 when the Democratic Party kicked all three of the Greens’ statewide candidates off the ballot, the Green Party of Pennsylvania has vowed to press on with legal action against the state for unfair ballot access laws. GPPA’s case, Rogers v Cortes was recently denied a request for a rehearing; Greens have begun raising the necessary funds to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Anyone interested in contributing to our case can send donations to the Green Party of Pennsylvania.
Currently, there are ten Green Party candidates seeking office across Pennsylvania, including four in Berks County. Jennaro Pullano has been shaking up Reading’s political establishment by being the earliest to challenge the incumbent. Heather Urkuski, who previously served as Centre Township Auditor, is now running for Berks County Commissioner.
The Green Party of Philadelphia has nominated three individuals to stand for elections this November: Jacinth Brown Roberts for City Council At Large; Lewis Harris, Jr. for City Commissioner; and Brian Rudnick for a City Council district seat. And in rural Pennsylvania, Courtney Wege is seeking re-election to the Gettysburg Area School District and Joe Jenkins is working hard to be Irwin Township’s next Supervisor.
GPPA has also embarked on a new membership drive designed to bring new people into the party and to revive locals across the state. Since taking office in January, several members of the state Steering Committee have visited locals across the state. A new membership brochure has also been developed.
Finally, the Green Party of Pennsylvania is happy to co-host the Annual National Meeting this summer. We look forward to seeing you in Reading!