December 2007


by Phil Huckelberry, Illinois Green Party, Co-chair of GPUS Ballot Access Committee

To get ballot access we need to do a lot of work and raise a lot of money because the blunt reality is that a political party without ballot lines is not much of a political party.

The 2008 presidential cycle is now well underway. Not wanting a repeat of the timid campaign strategy of 2004, many Greens are pushing for a strong, all-out strategy in 2008. But an all-out campaign strategy does not operate in a vacuum and would be rendered meaningless if our presidential nominee is off the ballot in one-third of the country.

In almost every state, ballot access is secured by petition, but the signature requirements and time limits can vary wildly; and for presidential elections, almost all ballot drives begin – and some even end – before the Green Party holds its convention. This means that several state parties are actually petitioning for a ballot line before knowing who will be on it. This can make it very hard to rally support.

The national Green convention cannot take place until primary voting is completed due to complicated ballot laws. Many states wrap up before July 1. Texas petitioning ends in May; Arizona petitioning actually ends in February! Many Greens did not understand this in 2004, mistakenly thinking that ballot access for presidential candidates would be a function of the presidential campaign. Ballot access must instead be a function of the party.

The ballot access requirements in several states are so oppressive that it is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect state parties to handle ballot drives on their own. The reality is, the national party does have the ability to identify and provide the resources necessary to make a difference for several state ballot drives, but not unless the National Committee makes ballot access a priority.

After years on the petitioning grindstone, Greens across the country have learned how to run strong, effective ballot drives on small budgets. In most states – even many with difficult requirements – ballot drives can be pulled off without having to hire paid petitioners. Such states can learn from example how to manage a large-scale drive, and the national party can provide training opportunities and facilitate better interstate communication. At the same time, the states with the absolute worst requirements will probably have no choice but to rely on paid petitioners, and the national party must be able to provide whatever financial support it can.

There are other programs the national party can seed that could be cost-effective ways to support state petition drives. A major internship network where students are sent to other states to provide critical petitioning assistance, with lodging handled by the host state, would not only help states meet requirements, but also train dozens of young Green leaders who are badly needed at all levels of the party. Other possibilities might include putting together a concert or lyceum circuit which would make a priority of visiting cities where petitioning is ongoing.

The vital question is whether the national party will elevate ballot access to the stature it requires. The evidence so far is mixed. In 2004, the national party allocated only $1,000 to ballot access work. A standing Ballot Access Committee was created in 2005, but the committee has operated on almost zero budget since its inception. Petitioning windows are already open in several states, with the 2008 petition drive already well underway in Arizona; but financial difficulties have prevented the national party from offering any monetary assistance, and the National Committee has been very slow to shore up the party’s fundraising shortfalls.

If Greens are dedicated to making 2008 a success, we need ballot access. To get ballot access we need to do a lot of work and raise a lot of money because the blunt reality is that a political party without ballot lines is not much of a political party.

Here are the ways you can get involved in making ballot access a priority:

Visit the Ballot Access Committee website at www.gp.org/committees/ballot for a map showing what ballot lines The Green Party currently has and what states are already petitioning.

Contact your state delegates to the National Committee and urge them to make a priority of both national party fundraising and providing resources to ballot access efforts.

Donate to the Green Party of the United States – and earmark half your donation to support ballot access.

Donate directly to state parties that need financial assistance. See the website for more information.

See if your state party has filled its complement of members on the national Ballot Access Committee, and if not, volunteer for the committee yourself.

Make plans to take a carload (or more) of Greens to a neighboring state for a day/ weekend to help them collect signatures. Most states do allow out-of-state petitioners, and there are still ways to help in states where there are laws against out-of-state petitioners. Find contact information for those state parties on the website.

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Phil Huckelberry is co-chair of the GPUS Ballot Access Committee. As former Co-Chair of the Illinois Green Party, he coordinated the 2006 ballot drive that collected 39,000 signatures in 90 days, leading to Rich Whitney winning 10.3 percent of the vote for governor and securing a lasting ballot line for the Green Party in Illinois.

Contact Phil at: phil.huckelberry@gmail.com

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A Green Look At The Global Energy Crisis
by Scott Derby, Green Party of New York State

In a paper presented to the American Petroleum Institute in 1956, Dr. M. King Hubbert outlined what would be called the “peak oil” theory. His research showed that, based on past and current oil production and field discoveries, oil production in the United States would peak in the 1970’s. He was right. Hubbert later predicted that global peak oil would be reached between 1995 and 2000.

The term “peak oil” refers to the point in time when an oil well, field or regional supply reaches its point of maximum oil output. It is the point at which there cannot be more oil pumped from the ground in a given time period, then at that moment.

The demand for energy is at its highest level – at the very same point we no longer can produce any more than we do right now. Please note peak oil is not the end of oil in the world. In fact it is only the halfway point. What it does mean is we are at the end of affordable and easy access to oil.

The oil used over the last hundred years, known as light and sweet crude, was easy to remove from the ground and easy to refine. Today we are nearing the end of this light and sweet crude, and are forced to use heavier and dirtier versions of oil. In Alberta, Canada, there is a massive oil reserve in what is known as the “Oil Sands.” This is a vast amount of oil encased in bitumen, clay, and sand that could, in theory, last for 40 years if production is increased to 10 million barrels per day. But the costs of labor, technology and refinement can easily be 6 to 12 times that of conventional drilling while the cost to the environment borders on the catastrophic.

Reducing petroleum use isn’t just a solution, it is the solution! Petroleum extraction and sales cause political instability and is a genuine national security issue, but it is in the hands of a few monied interests. These are but a few reasons to mount a true “war on energy.” What will you do when gas reaches four, five or more dollars per gallon? Will you be able to afford to get to work? Will you be able to afford to heat your home in winter? What will your food and clothing cost?

We need a new vision for the world for the next 25 years. A vision based on renewable energy, increased job opportunities and new technologies. A focus on localization and regionalism must be reintroduced to the American psyche. A massive reintroduction of small-scale organic and permaculture farms into all regions of our nation (especially the urban regions) must be an urgent priority.

To close I will give the sobering results of a hearing held on January 10, 2007 by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. During his turn at the microphone, Dr. Flynt Leverett stated, “Simply put, there is no economically plausible scenario for a strategically meaningful reduction in the dependence of the United States and its allies on imported hydrocarbons during the next quarter century.”

Contact Scott Derby at: derby@sunydutchess.edu

Next Global Greens Congress Moved To Brazil
Dates Remain The Same, May 1-4, 2008
Brussels, May 25th, 2007

Dear Green Friends,

After much reflection, we would like to inform you that insurmountable logistical problems have made it necessary to change the venue of our Second Green Global Congress from Nairobi, Kenya, to Sao Paolo, Brazil. This difficult decision was arrived at after much consideration and consultation with our African Green Friends, including Professor Wangari Maathai, who was a full participant.

Although it is not possible for the Congress to be held in Africa in 2008, we believe that with support from Greens Foundations such as the Heinrich Boll (Germany) and the Green Forum (Sweden), as well as from other organizations and with the strong engagement of the African Greens, there will certainly be an African-hosted Global Green Congress in the coming years.

Happily the enthusiastic proposal of our Brazilian Green Friends to hold our Second Global Green Congress in Sao Paulo — supported unanimously by the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas — makes us fully confident that the 2008 Congress will provide an extraordinary platform to underscore Green solutions to global challenges.

The last report of the World Watch Institute makes clear that the explosive growth of mega cities, such as Sao Paolo, is exacerbating the global energy/climate crisis. Thus Sao Paulo is a significant setting in which to discuss both the politics of climate change and energy policies and the concrete challenge of improving the quality of life for the majority of the world’s citizens. We expect that reflecting upon the daily local problems of one of the world’s largest mega cities will bring us to a deeper understanding of the means to effect needed global change.

The meeting will be an occasion to confirm our position not just on major ecological questions relative to Brazil, such as the Amazonian forests and the agro-fuels, but also to reaffirm that in a time when everybody speaks about the environment and climate change, Greens are more needed than ever.

Once more we will reaffirm our deep conviction that there can be no real ecological shift without the ecologists. Brazil is a good example of this. More information on Sao Paulo 2008 will be found on www.globalgreens.info in the coming weeks and months.

We look forward to seeing you in Brazil in 2008.

The Global Greens Coordination

Green Business Owners Positioned To Make A Difference
by Matt Funiciello, Green Party of New York State

Green businesses could help get the message out by showing people in their communities an alternative to modern corporate behavior and structure.

Green business owners are in a distinct position to represent Green principles to the public. The public may then be more likely to see our alternatives to big corporate practices. As a Green business owner myself, I spend a lot of time thinking about this. Am I uniquely positioned as a Green business owner to promote Green change and help grow awareness of the Green Party? How can I use my heightened visibility in our community to walk the Green walk and help represent the party’s ideals and vision?

I own and run Rock Hill Bakehouse, a wholesale bread bakery in upstate New York. We pay everyone who works for us a living wage, and we do our best to provide all the benefits that can be afforded in our market. We use local and organic ingredients in our breads and foods whenever possible and have been instrumental in creating a demand for locally-grown and milled grains and flours. We use fair trade coffees roasted locally. We use organic teas from our local self-titled “Tea Maven”. The majority of our produce is local, and we sell our breads at over a dozen farmer’s markets Ñ many in New York City. My father raises free-range chickens on his farm and we use their meat to make our popular curried chicken salad. We use beef from a small farm about twenty minutes away as often as it is available. Ingredients that cannot regularly be sourced locally are purchased from local distributors who have made a commitment to paying their employees a living wage and to buying local wherever possible. In short, we try really hard, and we are always trying to build more and better relationships to tweak the formula.

As with most Greens, I am also politically active. I have been outspoken on important issues in our area and have become a spokesperson for the Greens locally through letters to the editor, promoting independent media, and organizing protests and events. To my surprise, I’ve found that the cost to my business has been minimal. I have hosted visits by Ralph Nader twice to our area in the last three years, and while some customers shook their heads at me, they did it while ordering food. A larger number have thanked me, and most couldn’t care less (it’s them I need to work on). I advertise in local independent newspapers, usually putting controversial comments and political advice in my print ads. Callers have only a few times messages they would “never buy bread from a commie” or other such anonymous venom. My business has grown every year for the last ten years and I can’t believe my being Green has ever hurt my business in any way.

David Doonan runs Mohill Design, a freelance web design company in Greenwich, New York. He has worked for himself since 2001. He does a lot of pro bono work for the Green Party and has also designed more than a few web sites for Green Party candidates, including Howie Hawkins when he ran against Hillary Clinton last year. David writes for a local independent newspaper, as well as for Green Pages, and is a photographer who has chronicled many peace actions and antiwar protests.

I asked Doonan what it’s like to be a Green business owner in small-town America. He said when he and his wife first moved up from New Jersey fifteen years ago, “If you wanted anything done, you had to be a Republican. You had to be quiet. You couldn’t put your name and your politics out there. I don’t know that this is the case now because when the town needed a website, I was the guy who got the job.”

Doonan recently accepted a board position with the local Chamber of Commerce. He said things can seem somewhat crazy, being involved in activist and social justice circles and at the same time being involved in fairly conservative business circles. I know what he means. We also talked about using foreign goods in our businesses. It is often difficult to buy products that are domestic and also truly support proper labor practices and environmental law.

I asked Doonan if it is possible to get around the cheap (almost exclusively foreign) hardware and technologies driving the Internet boom his business so depends on. He said if it weren’t for that very equipment, he “would probably be working 40 or 50 hours a week for someone else instead of for myself.” He said he compensates for this unavoidable compromise by doing valuable progressive work.

Mohill Design “recycles paper and turns the lights off.” The client list is almost entirely made up of local people and businesses within walking distance of his modest home office. I asked if he has ever seen any “blowback” as a result of his political work. He relates he did have one client who was deeply offended by a link he sent out showing photos he’d taken of an anti-war march in Washington. That’s probably the only client he feels he’s lost.

High Peaks Java is a small coffee roasting company and cafe run by Derek Java (his real name). He uses only fair trade, organic coffee beans and offers soy and organic dairy products. Java said he has held most of his Green opinions and values before he joined the Green Party about a year ago. He said he doesn’t really know if being a Green affects his standing in the business community because he doesn’t really get much feedback about it. He doesn’t hide who he is, but he also doesn’t necessarily project it either. “If anybody were to come into my shop, they would see a poster of Ralph Nader on the wall and … they can draw their own conclusions, or they can ask me a question. Most of them draw their own conclusions.”

Now that Java has joined the Party, he feels it is even more important to set standards for others to follow. He had “greened” his business from the start, but he now sees the need to help others do the same.

Should Green business owners focus on becoming a more organized force within the party to help financially support party growth on a state and national level, I asked him.

“I think it’s absolutely the way we should go,” he said. “The problem comes when you start thinking about levels of donation per individual and how to compete on a national level against the corporate parties. They set the barrier ridiculously high. I mean the major candidates in the upcoming election will be raising a half a billion dollars – 500 million dollars in eighteen months! I won’t raise that in my life. To compete at that level is perhaps more expensive than can be managed with a maximum donor value.”

We talked about Green business changing the perception of what it is to be a businessperson. We agreed Green businesses could help get the message out by showing people in their communities an alternative to modern corporate behavior and structure. Java said he is interested in seeing Green businesses throughout the country help get the message out by advertising directly about Green candidates and issues.

As a caucus within the party, Green business owners could start a meaningful discussion about how best to utilize the skills and resources we bring to the Party. We can set an example of what “business” can be, and what it looks like when a moral compass and a little vision are added to the mix. We all talked about our desire to see a network form that would unite Green business owners nationwide and help Greens communicate with each other to help grow the party.

If you are interested in helping to form such a group or caucus, please contact mattfuniciello@earthlink.net

Delaware

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.

Missouri

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.”

Montana

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.

North Carolina

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.

Pennsylvania

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!

Back In Government
Finland’s Greens Enter National Coalition Once Again
by Panu Laturi, Party Secretary, Vihreät-De Gröna (Finnish Green Party)

For the first time since 2002, when it left coalition government over the Finnish parliament’s decision to approve construction of a new nuclear power plant, Vihreät-De Gröna (the Greens) is back in coalition government.

After receiving 8.5 percent of the vote in the March 18 General Elections and increasing the number of seats from 14 to 15 in the 200-member Finnish parliament, Vihreät entered into negotiations to form a new government together with the Centre Party, (51 seats), the right-wing National Coalition Party (50 seats), and the Swedish People’s Party (9 seats).

Such a potential coalition, based primarily upon the Centre and National Coalition parties, became the natural base for forming the government after the Social Democratic Party lost heavily in the March elections, falling from 53 to 45 seats. But this placed the Greens in a new situation, because from 1995 to 2002 – when Vihreät was part of the government in a five-party coalition – the government contained both right-wing and left-wing parties. Now there were only right-wing.

But that didn’t stop Vihreät from pursuing negotiations to form a government, because during the election they said that the parties in the government are not the main issue, but rather what issues are contained in the government’s program.

During its General Election campaign, Vihreät’s manifesto defined ‘Green’ as standing for “courage, responsibility and justice. The party’s main issues were ‘supporting the poorest in society and families’, including through advocating a guaranteed basic income, as well as addressing climate change through promoting sustainable energy use through conservation and renewable sources.

Entering negotiations Vihreät had five main goals: Vihreät would be allowed to oppose nuclear power in the government and in parliament; there would be a move towards establishing a basic income, implemented through the Social Security program; ecological taxes would begin; that no environmental legislation would be weakened; and the two highly controversial and environmentally destructive Kollaja and Vuotos dams would not be built, dams the nation’s environmental movement has been fighting for years.

Negotiations on behalf of Vihreät were led by party chair Tarja Cronberg, parliamentary group leader Heidi Hautala and party secretary Ari Heikkinen. After five days of difficult negotiations, Vihreät got agreement on its key points. Then the agreement was put to a vote of the party’s National Council as well as its parliamentary group and both groups approved it by consensus.

As part of the agreement, Vihreät also received two ministers in the coalition deal – both women – as Cronberg, 61, became Labor Minister and Green MP Tuija Brax, 44, Justice Minister. In addition to these ministerial posts, Green MP Oras Tynkkynen, 29, was appointed Special adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change.

Among the Green MPs are also Hautala and former European Green spokesperson Pekka Haavisto, who in recent years spent time with the United Nations in Afghanistan, as European Union Special Representative in Sudan, and from 1995-1999 was Finnish Minister of Environment and Development Aid.

Overall the parliamentary group contains ten women and five mean, with five members of the group under 32. Overall, Vihreät ran 202 candidates in the parliamentary elections, of which 107 (53 percent) were women. The average age of was 40.4 years, with the youngest 19 and the oldest 68. On the city council level, the last local elections were held in 2004 and the Greens gained 7.4 percent of the votes and 314 councillor seats. On the European level, the Greens have one member of the European Parliament, Satu Hassi.

Finnish Greens Enter Coalition With Pro-Nuclear Parties
by Oras Tynkkynen, Green member of Finnish Parliament

The Finnish Greens have not and will not support or sanction any nuclear projects whatsoever.
– Oras Tynkkynen

In 2002 the Finnish parliament voted 107 to 92 to approve a fifth nuclear reactor. Immediately afterward, in protest, the Finnish Green Party Vihreät left the five-party coalition government of which it had been a member of since 1995.

Today, despite being the only party represented in the Finnish parliament that is unanimously opposed to nuclear power (apart from a marginal far-right group), Vihreät recently entered into coalition government with two large pro-nuclear parties – the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party. How can Vihreät reconcile this with its anti-nuclear stance?

The Finnish Greens have always opposed, currently oppose and will continue to oppose building new nuclear power capacity. Its position is crystal-clear although it has not always been successful in communicating that position in the media.

The biggest debate in Finland’s Green Party has revolved around whether it can enter a government that may, or is likely to, give permission to a new nuclear project. While there are slightly differing voices within the party, the mainstream view has been that it should be ready to enter even a pro-nuclear government.

Why on Earth? Firstly, not a single nuclear reactor will be stopped by the Greens voluntarily staying out of, or leaving, the government. The government would still retain its majority even if it lost the support of the 15 Green MPs. The parliament will have the final say in approving new nuclear projects and the pro-nuclear majority would not change regardless of whether Vihreät is in the government or in the opposition.

Secondly, the only way to stop nuclear projects in the long run is to achieve a paradigm shift in energy policy. The party needs to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency ambitiously. Inside the government it will have a better chance to shift energy policy to a greener direction.

Thirdly, being Green is a lot more than opposing nuclear power – providing social security to all, protecting minority rights, promoting energy efficiency and renewables, fighting for gender equality and reducing poverty. As much as nuclear power is opposed, the party has the moral obligation to work for progress in other political fields as well.

Regarding nuclear power, the government program states (rough translation):

“No zero- or low-emission or emission-neutral, sustainable and economically productive energy form, including nuclear power, shall be excluded, but all energy forms will be investigated based on the general interests of the society.”

This tongue-twisting exercise is in verbatim the same formulation that was unanimously accepted by the parliament in 2006. It is also in essence the same that was accepted during Vihreät’s previous government tenure under the previous Social Democratic Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen’s governments I and II. In other words, the new government’s program is not any more pro-nuclear than those of its predecessors.

When interpreting the paragraph, the Greens underline the last part. The government does not ban any energy forms a priori, but rather is willing to investigate all possibilities and draw conclusions after a careful analysis of pro’s and con’s. According to this view, nuclear power is clearly not in the general interests of the society, so more should not be built. The pro-nuclear parties in the government have a different view, but the program does not, per se, mandate or call for building nuclear power.

The Greens have always openly stated that they will vote against any new nuclear projects both in the government and in the parliament. Should the government get an application from the industry for a sixth nuclear reactor, they will keep their promise and vote against it.

Thus the Finnish Greens have not and will not support or sanction any nuclear projects whatsoever.

Oras Tynkkynen first ran for Finnish parliament in 1999 at 21. While not elected, he became a deputy member of parliament in 2003 and when Green MP Satu Hassi was elected to the European Parliament in summer 2004, he assumed her seat, becoming the youngest and first openly gay member of the Finnish parliament.

For more information: www.orastynkkynen.fi

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