At the California state plenary in September, more national delegates were elected for a total of 42 delegates and 15 alternates. A plaque and a laptop computer were presented to long-time CA Green Party activist and delegate, Greg Jan. Later in September, Sanda Everette was re-elected as co-chair.
A slate of seven candidates was approved for the February 2008 primary. The slate includes five candidates declared by the nation al meeting: Jared Ball, Elaine Brown, Jesse Johnson, Kent Mesplay, and Kat Swift, as well as two draft candidates: Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. There are active committees working on both of these efforts to draft Nader and McKinney. Co-chairs and other members of the delegation are taking strong roles in both campaigns. By the time this paper is published, there will hopefully be positive results.
County parties around the state are working on various issues with an emphasis on impeachment, ending the war, electoral reform, immigration rights, single payer healthcare, prison reform, air quality, sustainability and other envi ronmental issues, often in coalition with other activist groups. For more information, see www.cagreens.org and follow links to local websites. County organizations are showing up to share information about the Green Party at festivals, fairs, parades, and other community gatherings around the state. Greens contributed information to the Voters’ Guide of Alameda County. The party in San Mateo County spent ten days at the county fair and participated in a parade. Many San Francisco Bay area Greens participated in the four Beach Impeach events (http: //www.beachimpeach.org/), including bringing Cynthia McKinney as part of a four day multi-event tour of the area.
The Maryland Green Party (MGP) has extended its party-building efforts by opening an office in Baltimore. From its space in the Progressive Action Center, a former public library, the MGP is registering new Greens, coordinating campaigns, and sustaining fundraising drives.
The Green Party is now the fastest growing party in Maryland. “While the corporate parties are losing members, the Green Party is gaining support,” said Brian Bittner, Membership Coordinator and Co-Office Manager. “The ability to bring volunteers together at an office is very helpful.” Office volunteers have put together two fundraising drives since June and are planning to hold major mailings four times a year.
Office staff are also helping distribute literature for Green candidates in this year’s Baltimore city elections. Maria Allwine, former candidate for U.S. Senate, is running for Baltimore City Council President. Tim Willard, Maryland Green Party co-chair, noted that voters are “coming out of the woodwork asking us to run candidates” in future elections.
Financial support or letters can be sent to the Maryland Green Party, 1443 Gorsuch Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.
Greens throughout New York State have been active on a number of issues and even gained the attention of Governor Eliot Spitzer on the need for universal health care.
Peter LaVenia, co-chair of the Green Party of New York State was one of three Greens to present to a panel of medical experts and state department heads assembled by Governor Spitzer on health care reform in New York. All spoke in favor of universal, single-payer health care, with LaVenia emphasizing the plight of the young uninsured. Most advocated universal health care savings and the moral duty to cover New York’s three million uninsured. Whether Spitzer will take the Green Party’s recommendations is unknown, but state Greens will continue to keep up pressure for universal single-payer care.
New York Greens also co-sponsored a protest at the end of September for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. This protest was particularly significant as it took place in Syracuse, which is close to Fort Drum military base. Fort Drum has suffered the largest number of casualties in the country. Initiated by Iraq Veterans Against the War whose members are active duty soldiers, this protest reached out especially to soldiers on leave at Fort Drum.
New York also has several Greens running for office this election. Among them is Howie Hawkins who is not taking a break from campaigning. He ran last year for U.S. Senate against Hilary Clinton. This year he is using his notoriety in his bid for Syracuse town council.
GPofNYS also went high tech in September as state committee votes went online. Proposals can now be voted on through the computer in an effort to expedite time-sensitive votes (such as involvement in the Syracuse protest) as well as reduce the number of agenda items at already lengthy state meetings.
The Green Party of Pennsylvania again thanks everyone who attended the 2007 Annual National Meeting in Reading. It was a lot of work, but we are proud of the meeting we helped organize and are pleased that unlike past ANMs, this one made some money!
Locally, GPPA is promoting local candidates and just distributed $1750 of state funds to those candidates. The top race in the state is Jennaro Pullano’s bid for mayor of Reading; many who attended the ANM had a chance to meet him.
GPPA is also pushing forward with the ballot access lawsuit. GPPA and the PA Ballot Access Coalition rallied at the U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 24 to encourage the Justices to give audience to Rogers v. Cortes. This case has far-reaching implications for other states’ ballot access laws.
Finally, the party in the process of moving its state treasury away from Sovereign Bank and into a credit union in keeping with the Moving the Money to Main Street proposal.
The Green Party of Tennessee hosted the Southeast Campaign School on August 24-26, 2007, at the EcoVillage Training Center in Summertown, Tennessee. This is one of a series of regional campaign schools co-sponsored by the Coordinated Campaign Com mittee of the Green Party of the United States. Partici pants included twenty-one Greens from Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. Katey Culver, Felicia Frasure, and Martin Holsinger of the Green Party of Tennessee oversaw local arrangements. Brent McMillan, Political Director for the GP-US, ran the workshops.
The Campaign School started off by analyzing reasons why a candidate might run for office, including to win, to build the party organization, and to gain party ballot access. Once a candidate enters the race, campaign organization is vital. McMillan listed the key jobs as campaign manager (who should not be the candidate), treasurer, volunteer coordinator, media coordinator, get-out-the-vote coordinator, web manager, and event coordinator.
McMillan then led the participants through the tasks of a campaign. To ensure media coverage Green candidates must get to know the political beat reporters, have clear talking points, and send out press releases regularly, ideally once a week. Greens often avoid discussing money, but candidates need to ask for contributions from everyone they know. Finally, a strong get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drive is necessary leading up to the election.
The EcoVillage Training Center proved a wonderful location for the Campaign School. Every one appreciated the environmentally friendly buildings, rural setting, hearty vegetarian meals, and the chance to learn about the work of the center. The relaxed setting and regional focus of the campaign school fostered sharing of experiences among the participants.
Despite the record-breaking heat wave, attendees engaged in a lively discussion of problems common in southeastern states. Many southeastern states, for example, do not elect the Secretary of State or election commissioners, offices that Greens elsewhere can use as stepping-stones. The chief topic of conversation, however, was ballot access. The Green Party of Tennessee is one of several southeastern Green Parties working to gain Green Party ballot access in 2008. In the southeastern United States only Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina currently have ballot access.
A delegation led by the Green Party of Washington State (GPoWS) met with Senator Patty Murray’s Director of Special Projects on September 12 to urge the state’s senior senator to op pose publicly all efforts of the Bush administration to attack Iran. The delegation, which included several Arab and Iran ian-Americans, presented staff with a binder filled with timely information (see www.payk.net/NoIranWar).
This fall four GPoWS members filed to run for nonpartisan public office: Suzanne Nott – Port of Olympia; Meta Hogan – Mayor of Olympia; Joe Szwaja – Seattle City Council; and Sally Soriano – Seattle School Board.
Nott lost in the primary, but had a strong showing with over 30% of the vote in a 3-way race. Szwaja finished second in the four-candidate primary and moved on to face the incumbent in the general election. Hogan and incumbent Soriano faced only one opponent each and therefore by passed the primary.
Understanding that the Green Party is more than a strictly electoral-based organization, the GPoWS Coordinating Council passed rules this summer allowing the creation of issue-based groups with official standing. While each group must possess a core of GPoWS members, non-party members may join these groups as well. To date, two groups have been formed: One Earth and 9/11 Truth.
One Earth is a climate change action group, which is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally and globally, individually and systemically. The purpose of the 9/11 Truth group is to discuss Green responses to empire and the truth of 9/11. The truth of 9/11 is THE issue of our day because it functions like a religious myth, organizing society around certain beliefs, assumptions, and consequent actions, helping to lay the foundation for building an em pire. To get involved with either group (wherever you live), send an email to wagreens@ gmail.com.
The party’s fall convention will be held on December 1 in Olympia.
The Merchandising Committee of GPUS has been brainstorming products and sales methods with the goals of generating revenue and building awareness and support for the Green Party. The efforts seem to be resonating with Greens, as reflected in success at the Reading, PA, annual meeting, doubling last year’s annual meeting sales, to over $5,000.
For the past several years the volume of sales has increased each year. On average, sales of merchandise have been in line with the budgeted goals, fulfilling the primary mission—income for the Party. With on-going seed money, the steady, upward sales trend will continue. The MerchCom is eager to work more closely with state and local parties for bulk orders, which permit active fundraising for both sides. Call the national office to find out how your local and state party can benefit financially as well as promotionally.
During this past fiscal year the Earth Flower logo and a clear procedure for authorization of its use was approved and sales began for a number of new products: peace magnet, sweatshirt, tote bag, baseball caps, Earth flower patch, ten key values T-shirt, and sunflower/four pillars T-shirt. An on-line bookstore, with expanded offerings in the coming year began. Promotions have been done through Greenline, the online newsletter, and an ad in Green Pages.
In the process of evolving responsible marketing in accordance with Green values, care has been taken to find vendors who are union shop (when possible) or are small enterprises that are eco-friendly and labor-responsible in their business practices.
The intent is to develop new products for existing customers and to interest first-time buyers.
One way to engage local and state Green Parties will be pre-packaged tabling kits (please ask!) and a template for customized state parties and campaign materials. “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home” car ribbon magnets have been sold by the hundreds through the national office to state and local chapters for tabling events, and at the national meetings.
Do you have ideas for future magnet slogans? The Merchandise Committee would like to hear from you, especially when you place an order.
To buy Green Party merchandise, to go: https://secure.democracyinaction.com/dia/organizations/Greens/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=4.
To contact the Merchandise Committee, go to: http://www.gp.org/ committees/merch/. Call the National Office at 1-866-41-GREEN