2004 State Nominating Convention|
The Pennsylvania Green Party just completed their 2004 State Nominating Convention, held on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2004 at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, Reading, Pa. As the host county, the Berks Green Party thanks everyone who attended and assisted in presenting this great event. And we should all thank the state committee for their excellent planning of the convention. The Saturday night concert and other fund-raising was a big success, raising more than enough money to cover expenses for staging the convention.
Pictures and a short video summary of the event will be here soon. Please check back.
Below are three articles printed in the Reading Eagle newspaper on Feb. 2 about the event, including an explanation of the Presidential Caucus method for selecting a presidential candidate adopted by the convention. The Reading Eagle gave us extensive coverage both leading up to and after the event.
Warming, big firms targets for Greens
About 100 loyalists listen as three presidential candidates outline their platforms at the party's state convention in Reading.
By Kori Walter
There will be bigger opponents than President Bush and the Democratic presidential nominee in this fall's election, a trio of Green Party presidential hopefuls said during a visit to Reading on Sunday. Multinational corporations and global warming will be the real targets for the Green Party, the candidates said during the Pennsylvania Green Party state convention at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center.
David Cobb, a California lawyer; Kent Mesplay, a San Diego air-quality inspector; and Lorna Salzman, a New York environmental activist, outlined their presidential platforms for about 100 party loyalists.
All three support increasing taxes on corporations, providing universal health care and ending trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Salzman also advocated imposing high taxes on oil and gas to combat global warming. “To me, global warming is the social-justice issue of our day,” Salzman said. “I believe the Green Party must be the voice, the conscience and the warrior in the war against global warming.”
Mesplay argued that more research would be done on alternative energy sources if the federal government stopped handing out millions of dollars each year to coal and oil companies. While answering questions from convention delegates, Mesplay called for less violence in society and said he was concerned that the American military has guns. He also said major change is needed in what children learn in public schools. “There's a problem with how we teach children,” Mesplay said. “We really need to teach relationship building, and we should not be so competitive.”
Cobb said politics is less competitive because corporations dump huge amounts of cash into campaigns. That's what happened when activist Jesse Jackson and former California Gov. Jerry Brown ran for president, he said. “Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown had better organization and better ideas,” said Cobb, who worked on both men's campaigns. “We had money, but we didn't have the fat, stupid, crazy corporate money the other opponents had.”
Cobb also blamed corporations for undermining democracy and forming a transnational, global empire. “We are no longer self-governed,” Cobb said of Americans. “We are consumers choosing between paper and plastic at the grocery store.”
Asked whom he would appoint to his Cabinet, Cobb responded that columnist and Bush antagonist Molly Ivins would be press secretary, U.S. foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky would be secretary of state and a general who joined the peace movement but whose name Cobb said he couldn't remember would be secretary of defense.
All three candidates also took on the issue of whether a Green candidate would siphon votes from a Democratic nominee and inadvertently help Bush win re-election.
Some Democrats claimed that's what happened in 2000 when Green candidate Ralph Nader captured less than 1 percent of the vote nationwide, but performed well in such key states as Florida and Minnesota.
Bush went on to win by capturing more electoral votes than Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic nominee.
Mesplay agreed that Bush has to be defeated in November, but said Greens need to run candidates in each state.
“The best way to beat Bush is to run against him,” Mesplay said.
Cobb argued for targeting about 40 states where the electoral votes would not swing the election.
And Salzman said Greens should fight to win every state because Bush is not the only problem with a two-party system.
“Bush is just a disease carrier,” Salzman said. “This goes beyond defeating George Bush.”
The party, which does not hold primaries and caucuses in every state, will pick its nominee during the national Green Party convention in Milwaukee, Wis., in late June.
State Green Party to hold caucuses
By Kori Walter
Pennsylvania Green Party members voted Sunday to hold caucuses in April to determine if the party will put a presidential candidate on the ballot in the fall. This year will mark the first time the state party will use a caucus to determine who, if anyone, should be the presidential nominee, party officials said.
No date was set for the caucuses, which will be held in each county.
The decision came as the party wrapped up a two-day state convention at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center.
Green candidates will not be running in the April 27 primary because Pennsylvania does not fund third-party primaries, said West Reading resident Mike Morrill, who ran for governor in 2002 on the Green ticket.
Morrill said a caucus will highlight the hypocrisy of not funding a primary for third parties and will allow grass-roots participation.
“This is a sign of the growing political sophistication of the party,” Morrill said.
The decision also gives the party some flexibility, said Reading resident and party state Chairman Jennaro Pullano.
Greens in Pennsylvania and across the United States are divided about whether the party even should field a candidate. Some party members believe President Bush must be defeated and Greens need to support the Democratic candidate to achieve that. Others believe the party needs to grow and should contest the election in every state, while another faction wants to target selected states.
“The Green Party has been discussing this presidential issue for over two years now,” Pullano said. “With a caucus, every registered Green can get involved in the process.”
Even if the party wants to run a presidential candidate in Pennsylvania, the state's ballot-access laws pose a challenge.
Third-party candidates will need 20,000 to 30,000 valid signatures or about 2 percent of the ballots cast for the top vote-getter in the 2003 state elections on their nominating petitions.
The Pennsylvania Green Party nominated a slate of candidates for statewide offices during its convention Sunday in Reading.
The (statewide) candidates will need to collect 20,000 to 30,000 valid signatures on nominating petitions to appear on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election.
Here are the offices and the Green nominees:
6th Congressional District (which includes part of Berks and sections of Reading): Dorothy Schieber, a clinical social worker from Amity Township.
7th Congressional District: Sam Krakow, a medical student from Delaware County.
16th Congressional District (which includes part of Berks and sections of Reading): Robert Hagen, a teacher from Lancaster County.
State attorney general: Marakay Rogers, a lawyer from York County.
State auditor general: Ben Price, an equipment manager for a trucking company from Cumberland County.
State treasurer: Paul Teese, a general manager for a hammock company from Bucks County.
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