Greens See Local Campaigns Building Foundation.
THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES MEDIA RELEASE
Grassroots strategy lets upstart party thrive without corporate campaign checks
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens candidates and activists see the party's best prospects for advancement in many strong local races across the U.S. in 2002.
"Despite the many candidates we have running for Congress and statewide office, most Green Party candidates continue to run for local office," said Dean Myerson, Political Coordinator for the Green Party of the United States. "This year, over 200 Green Party members will seek local office. While some of these races are officially non-partisan, local officeholders get experience and create a foundation for higher challenges and victories in years to come."
"These grassroots efforts also result in increased party registration," added Myerson. "Green Party membership is up over 27% in the last two years,? pointing out that the Green Party is the only national party to gain members since 2000.
Greens assert that one of the greatest needs for grassroots democracy is in our nation's capitol, where citizens not only lack a vote in Congress, but also lack control over their local budget and legislation. D.C. Statehood Green Adam Eidinger is seeking the post of Shadow Representative to the House of Representatives in order to address this injustice.
"Washington, D.C. residents have worked for 30 years to get full rights in Congress and control over their own tax dollars. Most efforts for D.C. rights focus on Congressional votes and ignore grassroots demands for local control," said Eidinger. "My campaign and the Statehood Green Party says we need statehood to ensure grassroots democracy for citizens of the nation's capitol, and my call for a general strike will bring local people into this struggle."
157 Greens now hold public office, all at the local level, ranging from Drain Commissioner to Rent Control boards to City Council and County Commissioner. "These positions are critical to the day-to-day lives of ordinary people," said Myerson. "Campaigns at this level bypass the big-money negative campaigning that assaults voters at election time. Our local officeholders offer clean and honest governance, along with a positive message, not the negative attacks ads that have become standard."
"Providence, Rhode Island has long had a culture of corruption, as demonstrated by Mayor Cianci's recent conviction for running a criminal enterprise," said Green Mayoral candidate Greg Gerritt, one of the earliest Green candidates in the United States in 1986. "The people of Providence want a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They have responded strongly to my issues and honesty, and to the grassroots campaign that has taken me door-to-door."
No office is too minor or local for Green candidates. In North Carolina, Gray Newman is running for Soil and Water District Commissioner. "I chose to run when I found out that 84% of the streams in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina were considered unsafe to swim in. These are the same streams that my brother and I 'went discovering in' when we were kids, but I would never let my daughter set foot in them now."
Similarly, Jane Hunter, who is running for Burough Council in Bound Brook, New Jersey, says that, "Traditional politics hasn't worked here. Bound Brook has suffered from a lack of vision and a Borough Council mindset that pitted officials against borough residents. We need all of our residents and businesses involved in creative problem solving to help realize Bound Brook's potential as a community."
While Greens challenge more races at higher levels, races that broaden the Green Party's visibility and appeal, they will continue to run far more races at the local level. These campaigns have created the foundation of a true national political party.
Greg Gerritt campaign: 401-331-0529; http://www.gerrittformayor.org/index.html
Database of Green campaigns and office holders: http://www.gp.org/patience.html
Green candidates' participation in and exclusion from debates http://www.gp.org/debates.html