aleqm5gduf3dbispbbyvf4t4vkqo7cekewArne Næss is dead, 96 years old. The Green party wishes to thank its honorary member since 1997 for everything he has contributed in the 20 years of the party’s existence. Næss has been a source of inspiration not only to us, but to the entire international movement of green parties. As the father of ecosophy and a real pioneer of holistic ecological thinking, he has created the basis on which much green thinking rests. In many ways he was far ahead of his time. – his humility, sense of wonder and playful attitude towards all that surrounds us, are values we now need more than ever.

Arne Næss was not only a man of big thoughts, but also a man of action. Many remember his participation in nonviolent direct action at Mardøla in 1970 and at Alta ten years later. Arne Næss was environmentalism in practice.

Arne Næss was indeed a great man. We are very grateful for what he gave us, for always saying yes to our invitations and for being anchorman on our lists in Oslo at local and national elections since 1987. He was our political and ideological guarantee. This year for the first time somebody else will have to play that part. It will be a big challenge.

At this time our thoughts go to Arne’s family and friends. We shall do what we can to take his thinking into the twentyfirst century. Thank you, Arne!



Arne Næss er død, 96 år gammel. Miljøpartiet De Grønne takker sitt æresmedlem fra 1997 for alt han har bidratt med i de 20 årene partiet har eksistert. Næss har vært en stor inspirasjonskilde ikke bare for oss, men for hele den internasjonale grønne partibevegelsen. Som økosofiens far og en virkelig pioner innen helhetlig økologisk tenkning har han skapt fundamentet mye grønn ideologi hviler på. På mange måter var han langt forut for sin tid – hans ydmykhet, undring og lekenhet overfor alt som omgir oss er verdier vi trenger nå mer enn noensinne.

Arne Næss var ikke bare en mann av store tanker, men også av handling. Mange husker hans engasjement i forbindelse med blant annet Mardøla-aksjonen og kampen om Alta-vassdraget på 70-tallet og hans deltakelse i sivil ulydighet for saken. Arne Næss var miljøvern i praksis.

Arne Næss var en virkelig stor mann. Vi er dypt takknemlige for det han har gitt oss, for at han alltid stilte opp og for at han innehadde æresplassen på vår valgliste i Oslo til kommunevalg og stortingsvalg i alle år siden partiets grunnleggelse i 1987. Han var vår politiske og ideologiske garantist. I år blir noen andre for første gang nødt til å fylle den rollen. Det blir et stort tomrom å fylle.

Samtidig går våre tanker til Arnes familie og venner. Vi vil gjøre alt vi kan for at hans tanker bringes videre inn i det 21. århundret. Takk for alt, Arne!

by Joe Lombardo

The national conference of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) took place in Chicago over the December 12 – 14 weekend. The conference was attended by around 220 people, including Trudy Quaif, Tim Herr, and me (Joe Lombardo) as representatives of Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace. BNP also brought along its literature table, which did a brisk business.

At the conference, we discussed a number of documents prepared by the UFPJ steering committee and elected a new steering committee to serve until the next conference. The UFPJ steering committee documents included a unity proposal, a structure proposal, and a proposal for action. Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace joined with 18 other UFPJ groups in proposing two amendments to the documents.

The first amendment was on Afghanistan. In the UFPJ documents, the war in Afghanistan seems to be downplayed. While the UFPJ documents still called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, they did not do so for Afghanistan. Our amendment basically said that Afghanistan is not the “good war,” as some contend, and that UFPJ should call for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ashley Smith from Vermont presented the motivations for passing this amendment, which appeared to have strong support. After some discussion, the UFPJ leadership decided to accept the amendment as “friendly,” which means that it got adopted.

The second amendment was on unified spring actions around the anniversary of the war in Iraq. Specifically, the amendment called for UFPJ’s support for a March 21 demonstration at the Pentagon, which is being supported by a broad array of peace groups, including ANSWER, the National Assembly, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and others. Although IVAW did not formally attend the conference, a flyer was circulated from their National Board of Directors calling for UFPJ to support the March 21 action. The UFPJ document that we sought to amend called for a number of actions on various issues leading up to a rally on Wall Street on April 4th around the issues of “re-ordering of economic priorities.” The supporters of our amendment were not opposed to any of the actions that the UFPJ leadership proposed, so we asked that we not counter- pose the resolutions and simply include one more action in the UFPJ proposal, March 21. The UFPJ leadership said that it would be too much to work on their actions plus March 21, so they wanted the two proposals to be counter-posed. That means that the delegates had to vote for one or the other, but not both.

Motivations for our amendment were given by Marilyn Levin from Boston. There were three speakers for the amendment and three against. There were three Iraqis at the conference; all of them supported our March 21 amendment. The three speakers for our amendment included two of the Iraqis and me. There was then a motion to have open discussion for a half-hour. That motion was defeated, and so the discussion ended. The vote was 49 for March 21 and 111 against.

There was also a discussion around the structure of the steering committee. The UFPJ leadership proposed having 40 members, 20 voted by the conference and 20 permanent positions from certain national groups that support UFPJ. The discussion was mainly opposed to this structure, so the proposal was dropped. I was nominated for the UFPJ steering committee but was not elected.

All of the above was placed in the context of the recent elections. The UFPJ leadership felt that we are now in a new political period brought on by Obama’s election and by the movement that his campaign engendered. They believe that there are now massive numbers of young people and African Americans who became politically active around the campaign and that this requires a new orientation for UFPJ. Although this was never said explicitly, I interpreted this to mean that they did not want to put forward positions that might be construed as opposing Obama. I believe this is why the Afghanistan war was downplayed, why they moved away from the anti-war issue as being central to their orientation in the coming year, and why they did not want to have a demonstration in Washington.

Immediately after the conference, the call for the March 21 Pentagon march was solidified. I’m sure that many of you saw the e- mail that came from the ANSWER coalition. Below is the call from the National Assembly. An ad hoc coalition is being set up to build the action, and a web site is being created.

I strongly believe that as long as we have troops occupying two countries, we must keep a strong anti-war movement that is visible and out in the streets. As the Iraqis who spoke for the March 21 resolution told the UFPJ conference, the Iraqi and Afghan people need to see a strong movement against the war in the US. The present condition of the economy and the people coming into political motion around the Obama campaign simply mean that we have a greater opportunity today to build the anti-war movement and relate the war to the fiscal crisis, jobs, and other issues that have become pressing during this period.

Although I will encourage the anti-war movement to build the March 21 action, I think that organizations, especially those close to New York City, should also participate in any Wall Street action that develops out of the UFPJ call. Although we did not achieve formal unity this spring, those of us who support unity should practice it by supporting the Wall Street action. Perhaps we can build an anti-war contingent with a slogan like, “Money for jobs, not for war.”

If you would like to discuss any of these developments with me, please contact me at or 518-439-1968

Joe Lombardo

Joe Lombardo is a long-time peace activist from Albany, NY and a member of the Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace and the Albany Greens

Below is a running tally of Green Party victories from the November 2008 elections:

Richard Carroll
was elected to Arkansas State Legislature, District 34.  

Bruce Delgado
was elected to Mayor of Marina City, Monterey County, CA (pop. 25,000)
Ross Mirkarimi
was re-elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 5 (the old Harvey Milk seat), CA.
John Selawsky was elected to Berkeley School Board, Alameda County, CA.
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap was re-elected to Humboldt Water Board District 1, CA.
Jesse Townley
was elected to Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, Alameda County, CA.
Colorado Art Goodtimes was re-elected to San Miguel County Commissioner District 3, CO.

District of Columbia
Philip Blair, Jr
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 5A10, DC.
Dave Bosserman
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1D05, DC.
Nancy Shia
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C06, DC.
Carolyn Steptoe
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 5A07, DC.
Rick Tingling-Clemmons
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 7D05, DC.
Bryan Weaver
was re-elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C03, DC.
Chris Otten
was elected to Advisory Neighborhood Commission SMD 1C02, DC.

Cara Jennings
was her re-elected to Lake Worth Commissioner, Palm Beach, Fl.

Korine Bachleda
won her re-election to Newberg Township Clerk, Cass County, MI.

Michael Beilstein
was re-elected to Corvallis City Council, Ward 5, OR.

James Nicita was elected to Oregon City Commissioner Position 3, Clackamas County, OR.

South Carolina
Eugene Platt
was re-elected to James Island Public Service District, Charleston County, SC.

By Mike Feinstein, Green Party of California

If it is true that modest but consistent growth foreshadows greater success, then 1998 was a very promising year for the Green Party. Following a pattern that started in earlier years, Greens are running more candidates and winning more races with each passing electoral cycle.

A record 125 Greens ran for office in 1998, including 112 in the November election. Eighteen candidates won their races, a single-year record. Among them were 12 city council members and three county board of supervisors. With each step forward, Greens are gaining more experience, attracting more attention and becoming a more established part of the American political landscape.

Local races: Currently, there are 62 Greens holding elected office in 15 states (up from 42 in 12 states after the 1996 general election). Included in those numbers are 16 city councilmembers in California alone (three of whom are also mayors of their cities). What unites Green candidates is a focus on sustainability, a commitment to social and economic justice, and a vision for a democratic, inclusive society.

Voters not only are electing more Greens in more cities, but they also are returning Green incumbents to office. This suggests that voters believe Greens have substantive ideas and that they can govern. Since 1993, 16 of 19 Green incumbents for city council and board of supervisors have been re-elected. The three who lost were defeated by a hairsbreadth – 50 votes all together.

In 1998, all four city council incumbents were re-elected: Alan Drusys, Yucaipa, CA; Cris Moore, Santa Fe, NM; and Steve Schmidt, Menlo Park, CA, all to their second terms. In Berkeley, CA, Dona Spring was elected to her US Green record fourth term. (Spring’s first three terms were for two-years each. Berkeley since has changed its laws to provide for four-year terms.)

In Santa Monica, CA, Greens picked up their second city council seat with the election of Kevin McKeown. His victory followed on the heels of the city’s first Green win in 1996 by Mike Feinstein. In Point Arena, CA Debra Keipp held onto the Greens’ second seat in that city, replacing outgoing Green Raven Earlygrow.

On the Big Island of Hawai’i, Julie Jacobson won a partisan seat in District 6 on the nine-member Hawai’i County Council. She is the second Hawai’i Green to win a partisan election Keiko Bonk was elected to the county council in 1992 and 1994.

Another measure of the Greens’ success are the coalitions the party is building: Green-Labor alliances helped elect McKeown, Moore and Tim Fitzmaurice (Santa Cruz, CA) to city council seats.

And then there is the amount of opposition to Green candidates in the United States. For the first time, several Green candidates were targeted by well-financed, negative ‘green-bashing’ direct mail pieces. Winning city council candidates Drusys and McKeown were hit the hardest, as well as Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Bill Belitskus (who received 15%).

State and Federal races: Greens ran for governor in seven states: Alaska, California, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Texas. Maine’s Pat LaMarche ended up with the highest percentage of the vote at 6.9%, re-qualifying the Maine Green Party for ballot status. California’s Dan Hamburg received the most votes overall, with 104,179.

In Alaska, Maine, Minnesota and Oregon, Green gubernatorial candidates appeared in at least one televised debate for the first time. In California however, winning candidate and now Governor Gray Davis went to great lengths to exclude Hamburg (a member of Congress from 1992-4) from a series of televised debates, fearing Hamburg’s appeal to voters.

In two state house districts, Greens finished second, behind the Democrat but ahead of the Republican (Ben Meiklejohn, Portland, Maine, with 24.7% and Stan Kahn, Oregon, with 19.0%)

In four other races – two Congressional, one state legislative and one county supervisorial, Green candidates received more votes than the margin by which the Democratic candidates were defeated, suggesting a growing leverage by Green voters. The highest percentage received in these races was the 15% garnered by Bob Anderson in a special congressional election in the Albuquerque, NM district.

In 10 other races, mostly state legislative and congressional, Greens were the only opposition to the incumbent party’s candidate, in races that would have otherwise been unopposed.

When competing with candidates from other third parties, Greens generally finished first, including for both Governor and Lt. Governor in California.

Sara Amir’s 3% was the highest third party total for California Lt. Governor in 60 years. The 247,897 votes she collected also made her the second highest vote-getter for any office ever sought by A US Green candidate.

Nationwide, the states in which the most Green candidates ran were California (41), New Mexico (15), New York (10) and Oregon (8).

The numbers of Green candidates running for specific offices were: Governor (7), Lt. Governor (6), Attorney General (1), State Comptroller (1) Secretary of State (2), State Treasurer (2), State Auditor (2), other statewide offices (8), US Senate (3), US House of Representatives (18), State Senate (4), State House/Assembly (17), County Council/Supervisor/Board of Supervisors (16), City/Town Council (30), Rent Stabilization Board (1), School Board (5), Planning Boards (2), Sheriff (1) and District of Columbia representative (1).

by Dean Myerson, ASGP Secretary

The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) was formed in late 1996, to help strengthen and create independent Green parties in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and to prepare for the creation of a national Green Party in the US. The inaugural ASGP meeting was held in Virginia in November, 1996. Subsequent meetings have occured in Portland, OR (April 1997), Topsham, ME (October, 1997) and Santa Fe, NM (April, 1998). The next meeting is scheduled for Connecticut in June, 1999.

The ASGP currently has affiliates in 24 states, the three newest being California, Georgia, and Minnesota. Each state has two delegates on the Coordinating Committee (CC). In addition, there is a five member Steering Committee with three co-chairs, a secretary and a treasurer. There are also a number of standing committees, including Accreditation, Communications, International, Platform and Presidential Exploratory.

The ASGP is a charter member of the recently formed Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas and also works closely with the Partido Verde Ecologista in México. The 30 member-nation European Federation of Green Parties has chosen the ASGP as its United States partner, and the two worked together to craft a Common Ground statement for presentation at the EFGP’s February, 1999 Congress in Paris. The ASGP also sent an observer to the first African/European Greens meeting, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in December, 1998.

At the Santa Fe ASGP meeting, a series of interim position statements were approved that serve as the ASGP’s basic platform, until a full platform is approved. The Platform Committee is currently working on a draft ‘Platform 2000’. The draft and interim statements are available at the ASGP’s web site (see below). In Santa Fe, a report was also presented by the Transition Committee, on plans for future state representation in the ASGP and at a potential presidential nomination convention in 2000. Delegates also dealt with a variety of bylaw and rules changes relating to accreditation of new member states, and a policy for dealing with the Federal Election Commission.

The current ASGP Steering Committee was elected in Santa Fe by preference voting, a proportional representation system. The three co-chairs are Nancy Allen (ME), Tom Sevigny (CT) and Anne Goeke (PA). Dean Myerson (CO) is Secretary while Tony Affigne (RI) is Treasurer. Since Santa Fe, the Steering Committee has been overseeing press relations. A strong showing in a special election in New Mexico led to extensive coverage in both the mainstream and progressive press, including the New York Times, the Nation, and In These Times .

In December, 1998, the ASGP constituted a Presidential Exploratory Committee. Their task is to contact potential presidential candidates to determine if they are interested in running for President in 2000 on the Green Party ticket, and if so, how they would run their campaign. The committee will not be making any recommendations regarding candidates, but rather will pass on the information it gathers to all Greens.

The next ASGP meeting will be held June 4th-6th, at Sunrise Resorts near Moodus, CT. For more information, contact the state party nearest you or the ASGP.

Pennsylvania Greens seek to ease ballot access

The Voters’ Choice Act was introduced into the Pennsylvania State House in February, 1999. Drafted by the Green Party of Pennsylvania, it would reduce the number of signatures necessary to qualify a candidate for a statewide race ballot from the current 30,000 to 4,500. It would also provide a realistic way for new parties to qualify for ballot status. The current law, passed in 1976 requires a party to register a number equal to approximately 15% of all registered voters, or about one million voters. The Voters’ Choice Act would change that to requiring a party to get 1% of the vote in any statewide race.

Revision 11 revolutionizes Florida ballot access law

In November, 1998 Florida voters overwhelmingly passed Revision 11, with 64.7% of the vote. It amends the Florida State Constitution to provide that ballot access procedures for minor party and independent candidates can be no more difficult than procedures by which the Democrats and Republicans get on the ballot. According to Richard Winger, Revision 11 is the biggest victory for the ballot access reform movement in the US since 1968.

The old Florida procedures for minor parties and independent candidates were the most draconian in the U.S. For non-presidential statewide office, candidates had to submit 242,000 valid signatures, as well as pay a huge filing fee. If they did get on the ballot, no matter how many votes they polled, they had to repeat the same petition process all over again in the next election. To qualify a party for ballot status, the party had to have at least 5% of all the state’s registered voters (no party, other than the Democrats or Republicans, have had 5% in any state since the 1910s).

Revision 11 is a product of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which only meets every 20 years to consider changes to the Florida Constitution. The Green Party of Florida, together with a coalition of other minor parties, the ACLU of Florida and Common Cause, spent two years lobbying the CRC to recommend these changes.

When the Florida legislature convenes in March, it will discuss the implementing legislation for Revision 11. Specifically, it will deal with the number of petition signatures due in lieu of filing fees, and amount of the filing fee itself. Based on how the Secretary of State handled four special legislative elections that occurred since the November election, it is expected that the legislature will lower the number of petition signatures to 1% of the number of registered voters in the district, and lower the filing fees to some as of yet not specified amount.

Florida has no filing fee for candidates for president. Major parties place candidates on their own presidential primary ballots simply by telling the state which names to print (the decision is in the hands of the state chair of the party, and the party’s two leading state legislators). Therefore, if the legislature doesn’t amend ballot access procedures for presidential primaries, minor party presidential candidates could be placed on the ballot in the same way. However, it seems likely the legislature will amend the presidential primary ballot access laws to avoid this outcome.

DC Greens seek qualification for presidency

The Green Party of the District of Columbia qualified for the ballot by receiving enough votes in the November, 1998 election – except, that DC law provides makes this ballot status for every office except president. DC Greens are lobbying the DC City Council to change this.

Arizona Greens test landmark ballot access law in court

In 1996, because they did not have ballot status, Arizona Greens tried to get Green presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot as a ‘Green’ independent candidate. But they found that an Arizona law, enacted in 1993, forbade them from getting petition signatures from anyone who is already a registered member of any ballot qualified party in the state (currently the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians). This law substantially shrinks the universe of eligible voters from which to gather signatures, and greatly increases the amount of work just to find voters that can sign such a petition.

Two and a half years later, Arizona Green Party members have received word that they will finally have their day in court. Green Party members Sloane Haywood and Carolyn Campbell filed suit in Federal Court following the June, 1996 deadline for turning in signatures to place Nader’s name on the ’96 ballot.

Since filing their case pro se, Christopher Clarke, a Washington D.C. lawyer, volunteered to take on the case pro bono. The Greens’ attorney will argue a Motion for Summary Judgment on March 16 in the US District Court for the District of Arizona.

Richard Winger, Ballot Access News publisher calls this case one of the 2 most important ballot access cases in the country (the other is the case of the Maine Greens): “If this case is lost, we can expect to see other state legislatures also passing Arizona-type laws. Already, there is a similar bill pending in the Massachusetts legislature. If we can beat the Arizona law in federal court, that will nip these other attempts in the bud.

Greens and the Federal Election Commission

On January 29, 1999, the Federal Election Commission issued an Advisory Opinion granting the Hawaii Green Party status as a State Committee of a State Political Party of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The Hawai’i Greens join the Maine Green Independent Party and the New Mexico Green Party as declared state committees of their respective state parties as affiliates of the ASGP. Others in the application process are the Green Parties of Rhode Island and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon. Each is seeking the same recognition, as a state party committee affiliated with the ASGP

Green Ballot Status as of 1998

In what speaks loudly about the results from the 1998 – and what bodes well for the future of the party in the United States – Greens gained ballot status for the first time in Colorado, the District of Columbia and New York. The party regained ballot status in Maine, and retained it in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawai’i, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. By not running a candidate in either, the Greens lost ballot status in Nevada and Vermont.

Where can I register Green?

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, there are 26 states in which one can register “Green”: AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, WV, and WY. However, in some of these states, the governments won’t tally them, until the party qualifies for the ballot.

Green voter registration totals as of 1998

Alaska 3,303; Arizona 1,744; California 98,443; Colorado 1,226; Connecticut 194; Delaware 14; Florida 965; Louisiana 89; Massachusetts 311; Nevada 713; New Mexico 8,549; Oregon 2,986. Arizona data is incomplete. (note – Maine had 2,600 Green registrants until they were knocked off the ballot by a ruling of the Maine Sec. of State. They are now back on the ballot and are beginning a new registration drive)

Desa Jacobsson, Alaska

The Green campaign for governor was a nail-biter, wrought with uncertainty and surprise. In the end, Desa Jacobsson received 3.01% and 6,608 votes, 12 more than she needed to retain ballot status for the Green Party of Alaska until 2002..

Jacobsson, a 52-year-old Yup’ik and Gwich’in subsistence activist with roots in villages and towns across the Alaska, campaigned on a platform of increasing in-state hiring, furthering the state’s recognition of tribal governments, and improving rural sanitation, and running water and sewer systems into villages.

Her overarching issue was ‘subsistence’, a recurring theme in Alaska’s elections, from downtown Anchorage to remote Eskimo villages. Jacobsson herself was raised in tiny Hooper Bay on the Bering Sea, where subsistence hunting and fishing are primary sources of protein for the people who live there, and which Jacobsen believes should be guaranteed as a primary right. “Subsistence is about more than food,” she said. “It provides the foundation for family relationships. It is about our survival as a people.”

Combining her message with a frank style and quick wit, Jacobsson fared well in candidate forums before the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, the Alaska Federation of Natives and on C-SPAN. Jacobsson criticized the state’s elected officials for ignoring the wisdom of the elders. She argued – as the elders do – that declining oil prices should be no great worry for most Alaskans, because a can of Tlingit-styled smoked sockeye is worth more than one barrel of oil’.

Jacobsson came to the Green Party through unusual circumstances. In 1989, she was part of a group protesting a one-net subsistence fishing policy and was briefly jailed for violating state subsistence fishing rules on the Kenai Peninsula. The one-net policy in many cases limited several hundred people to the fish caught with just one net.

While many individuals came to her aid, the only political party to take a stand was the Greens, approving a resolution that named her a political prisoner. Her supporters included a Juneau Green named Robert Willard Jr. – a man Jacobsson never forgot. The charges against her were eventually dropped, and after her release, Jacbosen visited Willard to thank him. In a remarkable twist of fate, the two eventually married, Jacobsson registered Green and then became the Green gubernatorial candidate seven years later.

On election night, Jacobsson had 2.9% of the vote, just short of the 3 percent needed to keep the Green Party on the ballot. But her fortunes (and those of the party) improved after votes from the last rural villages were counted, along with the absentee and provisional ballots. Together, they put Jacobsson over the 3 percent threshold, by the slimmest of margins.

Had she failed to receive 3 percent of the vote, the party would have lost its ballot status and could not have regained it until 2002. That is, unless a voter registration drive raised the party’s total from its current 3,300 to 6,596 (3 percent of the voters who cast ballots for governor).

The narrow survival at 3.01% was a reprieve for the party, which ran a low key campaign with fewer activists than it has in previous elections. In 1990, the Green Party of Alaska became the first US state Green Party ever to receive ballot status, when Sykes received 3.3 percent for governor. In 1994 he ran again, receiving 4.4 percent. Other strong candidacies for the party have included:
– Kelly Weaverling, elected as mayor of Cordova, 1991-3 (non-partisan race)
– Mary Jordan, US Senate (8.3%), 1992
– Joni Whitmore, US House (10.5%), 1994
– Jed Whittaker, US Senate (12.5%), 1996, finishing second ahead of the Democrat).

Pat LaMarche and Maine Greens hang tough, perseveres

Across the United States, Maine Greens have been among the first Greens anywhere to organize, with their roots going back to 1984. By 1992, they began to run candidates. By 1994, they qualified for ballot status, with the party’s gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter receiving 6.5%, easily surpassing the 5% needed threshold.

In 1996, the party was thrown off the ballot, after its presidential candidate Ralph Nader received only 2.5%. Maine Greens contested this ruling by the Maine Secretary of State. Since Maine law says “gubernatorial or presidential” in its wording, they claim the 5% requirement law should only apply every four years to the gubernatorial elections, not to the presidential elections in the intervening two years, which would require the party’s presidential nominee also to receive 5%.

Maine Greens argued they should not be penalized within their state, for the status of the Green party on the national level. This case is now under constitutional appeal at the Federal District Court of Appeals in Boston. The Greens contend that Maine Green Party member’s rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution guarantee the Greens the right to form and maintain a political party and that the laws of the state of Maine violate these rights. The state contends that running candidates as “Independents” is sufficient and thus no rights are abrogated. A ruling is expected by the end of March, 1999.

Regardless of that ruling however, for at least the next two years, the Maine Greens are back on the ballot, thanks to Pat LaMarche and her impressive 6.8% in a five-way race for Governor.

LaMarche, 37, has brought strong family, community, and ecological values to her work, from being Director of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Children’s MiracleNetwork, to serving as the Forest Ecology Network’s spokesperson and outreach educational director for its recent campaign to end massive clearcutting,

A strong campaigner, LaMarche spoke at community centers, factories, and on the streets. She brought many new people into the party, gained a lot of attention for the party from the media, and participated in all of the candidate debates (including the six televised ones).

Long-time Maine Green organizer John Rensenbrink observed, “Pat came across as a person of insight, integrity, and intelligence, standing out among the other four candidates, all men, and winning the hearts and minds of many, including a lot of ‘fence-sitters’.

Many of LaMarche’s big issues — universal health care, child care for welfare moms, higher salaries for teachers, more progressive taxation and corporation paying their fair share — were aimed at helping Maine’s women and poorer people. She also supported small business, while standing at the same time for workers rights.

LaMarche received the endorsement of the Maine chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW), the first time a NOW state chapter has endorsed a Green candidate for statewide office.

JoAnne Dauphinee, a member of the Maine NOW board of directors, said “while creating a new view of what a leader can and should look like, Pat is making the connections that economic justice, child care, education, affordable and accessible health care and environmental concerns are not just our issues or women’s issues – they are the issues that all Mainers care about”.

The Green Party also fielded two candidates for the state legislature in 1998 and both did very well. Betsy Marsano ran in a two way race in Portland’s District 30, receiving 28%. A long time community activist, she canvassed the district’s famed Munjoy Hill neighborhood, an diverse urban area of different ethnicities, recent immigrants, yuppies, and poor people. To everyone who opened their door, she presented her platform of education, health care, living wages and community-based economic development within a healthy environment. Former president of the student body at the University of Maine in Orono, Ben Meiklejohn ran in District 31, the west promenade area of Portland. With a solid door-to-door campaign, he received 25% in a three-way race, finishing second, beating the Republican.

After the election, newspaper editorials in the Bangor Daily News, Kennebec Journal, the Times Record, and the Maine Times lauded the Green Party’s persistence and durability. They criticized the 5% presidential requirement as unfair and ludicrous. Afterwards, LaMarche and Democrat and President of the State Senate Mark Lawrence met to discuss the political situation in Maine.

Recognizing that the Greens are in a position to continue getting significant votes for Governor (and possibly preventing the Democrats from winning back the governor’s seat), Lawrence has submitted a bill that would grant a party ballot status, if it registered as members, one half of one per cent of the residents of Maine (about 6,000). This would focus acquiring ballot status on a party efforts to register voters, rather than forcing the party to run for governor as its only option.

Whether this bill survives the Legislature, or is changed so the threshold becomes too high, is not yet clear. But if it passes, it would lessen the burden of staying on the ballot for the Greens significantly.

A simultaneous initiative is underway to persuade the major parties to consider strongly a change in the laws that would permit Instant Run-off Voting (IRV). Vermont is heading in that direction. A Ballot Access Coalition has formed in Maine among six small parties (Green, Libertarian, Reform, Taxpayers, Natural Law, and Labor), the Green Party being one of the chief initiators for the coalition. Greens hope that with IRV, the problem of the so-called spoiler-effect would lessen, voters would be liberated to vote their conscience, and the whole system might inch closer to proportional representation, which is the Greens more long-term goal.

At the party’s post-election state convention, delegates also made a major party goal for the year 2000, to run 50 candidates for the state legislature. LaMarche will chair the committee. It is charged with developing and implementing a plan to accomplish this.

As for now, a twist of fate has led the Greens to officially be know now as the ‘Maine Green Independent Party’.

A new law passed by the State legislature two years ago requires any Independent candidate running for governor who intends to bequeath his or her votes (provided they are more then 5%) to a political party for the purposes of establishing official ballot status for that party, to put on their ballot line (up to three words) the name they wish to run on, and then, that name is the one the party must adopt.

LaMarche ran as an Independent because the Greens had been denied their ballot status. She put ‘Green Independent’ on her ballot petition. Now that is the party’s new name.

Ken Pentel & Susan Jasper, Minnesota

After a strong showing in 1996, when first-ever Green candidate for state legislative Cam Gordon received 26% and finished second (beating the Republican), Minnesota Greens in 1998 ran their first-ever statewide candidacy for any office.

Ken Pentel was the party’s candidate for Governor and Susan Jasper for Lt. Governor. They received 6,983 votes – 0.3% in a tight race in which Reform Party candidate and winner Jesse Ventura took a lot of youth and independent votes that normally might have gone to the Greens. (During one of the candidate debates, when each was asked ‘if you couldn’t vote for yourself, who would you vote for’, Reform candidate Ventura said he would vote for Pentel.)

Despite the low vote total, the campaign was a success, giving the Greens unprecedented statewide visibility, and the momentum to form three new Green locals in the northern part of the state, as well as a quadrupling of the party’s state membership overall.

Pentel brought an 11-year background as a canvasser and field organizer for GreenPeace to the campaign, as well as having spent many hours at the state Capitol as a lobbyist for environmental issues. Along the campaign trail, from downtown Minneapolis to Iron Range towns in northern Minnesota, he communicated a sustainable vision for the state, in which wealth is redefined to include clean water and air, soil, habitats, peaceful communities, and a healthy, well-educated population.

In particular, safe renewable energy production was a key issue for Pentel. Minnesota spends $8-9 billion a year on energy and imports 98% of it (coal, oil, gas, and uranium).

Pentel advocated an efficient locally-based renewable, energy system using solar, wind and biomass (crops grown for distillation into fuels). Pentel also advocated accelerating the development of mass transit systems, to “move people, not cars.”

Faced with the canard of ‘jobs vs. environment’, while campaigning in northern Minnesota, Pentel received high marks with his ‘sustainable forestry alternative’ involving decentralizing the lumber mills, getting the highest possible value for forest products by developing local wood product industries, and promoting ecologically-friendly recreation & tourism. Pentel was able to appear in several of the early debates during the summer, but he was excluded later on when the race got tighter in the fall.

Pentel’s running mate Susan Jasper joined the Green Party during the Nader/LaDuke campaign in 1996. A dancer, chef, mother and grandmother, Jasper has been active in women’s and Native American issues all her life, and brought a commitment to the campaign to end institutional prejudice and protect the dignity and rights of women, children and families, to such basic needs as food, housing, medical care and education.

In terms of electoral reform, both Pentel and Jasper advocated public financing of campaigns, spending limits and a switch from the winner-take-all electoral system to proportional representation.

Blair Bobier, Oregon

A co-founder of the Pacific Party (Oregon’s Green Party) in 1991, Blair Bobier became its first-ever gubernatorial candidate in 1998. With the state’s rich forests and streams at risk from unsustainable logging practices, Bobier made the connection between economic security and a healthy environment a major focus of his campaign.

“If we cut the forests we are destroying one of the cheapest water filtration systems in the world,” said Bobier. Logging on public lands threatens the pure, clean water from healthy forests that is a staple for a important industries in Oregon, including billion dollar salmon fisheries, high-tech companies, tourism-related businesses and recreation facilities.

Instead of paying loggers to take trees out of the forests, Bobier suggested Oregon should support reforestation programs that would create jobs. He supported a ban on clear cutting and supported legislation that would phase out logging in all national forests and provide retraining assistance to displaced workers.

Among his other campaign issues, Bobier advocated:
– shifting public spending from prison construction to education.
– taxing companies based on the amount of pollution they generate.
– investing in public transit and bicycle paths.
– creating a universal health care plan for all Oregonians.

Bobier’s campaign soared from the start, as he took journalists on two aerial tours to witness the deforestation in Oregon’s National Forests and private timberlands. The tours helped set a credible and professional tone for the campaign and resulted in extensive stories on television, radio and in several newspapers.

Bobier also made democratizing the electoral process and getting fair and equal treatment for all candidates a major component of his campaign. Because he ‘rattled a lot cages and sabers’, Bobier was invited to participate in one televised (and radio broadcast) live debate. This resulted in the most exposure the Pacific Party has ever had, and most of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

However, despite his strong performance in the first televised debate, Bobier (and all other ‘third party candidates) were excluded from the remaining three. Bobier fought back, filing a lawsuit to participate in the second debate, which attracted statewide media exposure, including the major television networks.

For the third debate, Bobier took on the League of Women Voters and asked the IRS to investigate whether the group qualifies to retain its non-profit, tax-exempt status, if it engages in partisan activities by only promoting the Democrats and Republicans. An IRS review is pending. For the fourth debate, Bobier appeared outside and provided the perfect visuals for TV news – a huge American Flag and gagged protesters.

On the campaign trail, Bobier and supporters handed out 30,000 copies of his literature, distributing at several college campuses, concerts and on the streets. He ended up with 1.4%, finishing fourth out of seven candidates and helping retain ballot status for the Pacific Party by gaining over 1%. With the Natural Law, Reform and Socialist parties not receiving 1% and thus falling off the ballot, the Pacific Party is now the only progressive party remaining.

Susan Lee Solar, Texas

Of the seven Green gubernatorial candidates nationwide in 1998, Susan Lee Solar trekked perhaps the most arduous path – she ran as a write-in candidate in a state with ballot access laws that are prohibitive to ‘third parties’, and before the Greens were organized on a statewide basis.

Hoping to help build the Green Party throughout Texas, Solar focused her platform on healthy local economic development, mass transit, energy conservation and renewable energy, environmental restoration and affordable housing. She opposed the death penalty and promised to stand up against what she called a century-old patronage system in the governor’s office that has used the power of appointments to benefit corporate interests. If elected, Solar promised that her appointees would be chosen on the basis of social justice and diversity, and could come to office with records of curbing corporate abuses of workers and natural resources.

Perhaps the most galvanizing issue for Solar’s campaign was her opposition to the proposed Sierra Blanca nuclear waste dump. Waste would be transported from states like Maine and Vermont to just outside of Sierra Blanca, a primarily Latino, and poor west Texas town. The proposed dump would be located only sixteen miles from the Rio Grande, on an aquifer, in an earthquake zone.

Solar believes that her stance against the dump helped push the Democratic candidate into opposing Sierra Blanca, which in turn turned up the heat on Republican Governor George W. Bush Jr. Solar challenged Bush directly on the issue, during a two-minute interview on the evening news in Lubbock, her only time on network news during the campaign. Bush ultimately reversed his position and supported the rejection of the license.

Beyond coverage she received in Lubbock and Austin, Solar found it difficult as a write-in candidate to attract media attention, although she did use public access television to her advantage. Fundraising was another challenge, yet even with her self-imposed contribution limit of $100 (modeled after the new Austin campaign finance reform law, which was initiated by the Austin Greens), she raised more than $5,000. She used these funds to print and distribute literature, to create a web site, and to position 30 second spots on late-night and early morning cable television. Solar ended up with nearly 1,000 write-in supporters, and her candidacy helped energize Greens statewide, particularly in rejuvenating the local in Austin.