The “Green Guy” runs for office in Massachusetts
by L. Scott Laugenour, Green-Rainbow Party
I have always been interested in discus≠sing issues and events with others across the political and ideological spectrum. I have voted in every election since I first registered 30 years ago. Only recently, however, have I become more active: being part of Party and candidate committees, collecting signatures, canvassing for others, and being the name on the ballot. I came to the Green-Rainbow Party (the Massachusetts affiliate of the national Green Party) because it represents the future I want to see. While the major ruling parties had historical contributions, neither represents the future I visualize.
Today I am known as the “green guy” in the town of Lenox, Massachu≠setts. Tak≠ing my daily walk into town, a neighbor said a friend of hers had given me this nickname when voting for me in yesterdayís town election. This was the first of many positive messages I received the day following my loss in the town election for Select Committee (the highest executive board of my town of 5,000). Even a fellow townsperson whom I did not know thanked me for running and hoped I would run again.
As my campaign treasurer and I analyzed the numbers, we learned that 30 percent had voted for me. Knowing a bit about the struggles that preceded the success of some of my political heroes, I realized 30 percent support for a first run is nothing to be dispirited about! Though we wished the results had seated me as an elected Green-Rainbow, we can see there are great possibilities for future runs and future victoriesófor me or for other Green-Rainbow candidates.
How did we achieve 30 percent? One challenge was there were few formal venues to discuss issues in this small town. Turnout in town elections is always low, and while I was unsuccessful at increasing voter turnout, I believe I scored wins whenever I had a chance to speak before a group. Also it was important to appear confident and prepared for the groups I spoke to óparticularly the Chamber of Commerce, the Environmental Committee, and the Community Center.
My Green-Rainbow Party affiliation was positive for my campaign. Had I not declared my party affiliation (an option in this non-partisan race), I believe I would not have received as many votes. Running as a Green invited people to ask me about the party. As a result, I am well poised to register more people into the Green-Rain≠bow Party. This will help both the party and future campaigns I make.
An important part of my campaign was being forthright about myself to voters. As a gay and Green candidate who cares about our local residents and businesses, my web site had links to information about my family, my business, and my Party. My husband and I are proud that Mass≠a≠chusetts was the first state to institute same-sex marriage. Iím especially proud the Green Party of the U.S. and the Green-Rainbow Party have long had marriage equality in their platforms. Neither ruling political party is as resolute in its support.
On the issues, the Green-Rainbow Party is in a better position than the Repub≠li≠can Party to provide real opposition, particularly in a state like Massachusetts where many people are uncomfortable with its one-party (Democrat) rule. The more we can speak and represent Green thinking to the voting public, the better we will fare. We must not be afraid to speak to people who do not agree with us on every issue. Even the people who did not vote for me are likely to have more interest now in what I say.
I will make sure that people continue to hear my ideas at town meetings and public hearings, and continuing to write letters to the editor. This is especially important now that my name is on the radar of more voters.
Lenox voters who looked at my website, saw my posters and fliers, watched my video introduction, attended the candidate forums, or were at home when I went door-knocking, saw a positive forward-looking green candidate who shared their anger and concern about the current state of our social institutions. I strove to communicate how green values can be realized from local to global levels. When they saw the “green guy,” they saw someone seeking new kinds of solutions.
Campaigning was energizing and fun. I hope my experience inspires other Greens to seek office. It feels really great to be the “green guy” in town.
Contact Scott Laugenour at: lslaug@ roadrunner.com.
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