by Joanne Cvar, Pacific Green Party of Oregon and Green Party Peace Network
The Pacific Green Party of Oregon (PGP) is currently fielding a “peace slate,” with candidates for nomination in four of the five congressional districts in Oregon. All are committed to ending the war in Iraq, and all have pledged never to vote for funding the continued occupation through supplemental funding bills or for an increase in the basic military budget.
“Imagine, for a moment, real leaders for peace in Congress, added to the few already there, who are not beholden to the existing party leadership,” says Charles New lin, PGP Coordinating Committee member.
The party is hoping to complete its slate with a candidate for the remaining House district prior to its nominating convention on June 7. The PGP has maintained ballot access, so their candidates are guaranteed places on the November ballot.
“We are hopeful that this strategy will be adopted by other state Green parties that have ballot access,“ said Mike Beilstein, a two-term Corvallis, Oregon city councilor, who is planning his campaign against Rep. Peter DeFazio in District 4. (www.newmenu.org/mikebeilsteinforcongress.)
Alex Polikoff, a professional engineer and also from Corvallis, is running for the hotly contested seat which will be vacated next term by long-term incumbent Rep. Darlene Hooley in District 5. (www.votepolikoff.org/index.html.)
“At this point in time, both major parties seem more concerned with appeasing their corporate donors than in dealing with the threats of our ballooning public debt, job and health insecurity, world instability, the energy crisis and global warming,” said Polikoff. As with all Green candidates, Polikoff will accept no corporate contributions. “My allegiance will be strictly to ordinary citizens, whose voices have been largely ignored by our representatives in Washington.”
John Olmsted, an activist in the fight for social justice for the past 40 years, plans to run against Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Portland’s District 3. Olmsted has been an organizer of the anti-war movement, the fight for immigrant rights, for educational reform and for civil and human rights.
“The overwhelming majority of the damage done, from war to attacks on democratic rights, came with the votes of the Democrats in Washington,” Olmsted points out. “It is time for the building of a party that can be the voice of the majority to fight for our interests. Then we have a chance for real change.” (www.newmenu.org/ore gongreens4congress.)
Eastern Oregon Tristin Mock agrees on the need for change. She is taking Mahatma Gandhi’s maxim, “You must be the change you want to see in the world” as her inspiration to run against four-term incumbent Greg Walden in District 2, which covers all of Oregon east of the Cascades, plus some counties in the southwest corner of the state.
“It’s time for a change in congress,” says Mock. She would be a refreshing change indeed. Before earning her degree as a doctor of naturopathic medicine, she studied history, biology, international relations, and gerontology.
“The occupation of Iraq needs to be ended immediately,” Mock said. “Sup porting our troops does not mean sending them on a suicide mission, and abandoning them if/when they return.” (www.vote mock.com)
Green candidates on the ballot who pledge never to vote to fund overseas military adventures give voters an ethical choice in the 2008 election. Every voter in Oregon and in the country should have the opportunity to vote against the war. Since 2006, it’s been clear that voting for Democrats is almost universally voting to continue the war.