Iowa 2013

News stories about the 2013 Green Party Annual National Meeting. Additional information about the meeting can be found here. Convention documents can be found here.

Green Party Holds National Convention in Iowa City

KCRG
by Forrest Saunders, Reporter
July 25, 2013

Hillary KaneIOWA CITY, Iowa - A national political party convention is underway in Iowa City this weekend. The Green Party of the United States will be at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus for the next two days for their Annual National Meeting.

The group chose Iowa City for a couple reasons. It has a central location that looks to draw in Midwesterners who can’t make it to a coastal event. The state of Iowa has a deep significance with national politics. And also because Iowa City just seems to go well with green attitudes.

Organizers admit the Green Party's national convention is a bit unconventional. "Nobody has gotten rich in politics. We don't take money from corporations. We're not in it for the money," said Holly Hart, secretary of the Iowa Green Party.

It shows. Unlike the large, often glamorous, national meetings for Republicans and Democrats, here suits, limos, and expensive hotels have been replaced with t-shirts, bike routes, even campsites. "Usually every year there are one or a few people [who camp]. It just depends on the weather. If the mosquitoes are bad or if there's a tornado or something, or if it's nice like this weekend," said Hart.

While their red and blue colleagues bring in thousands, the Green Party looks to have convention numbers topping 120. Their schedule includes a slew of seminars focused on racial equality, agriculture, and how to run for office. "We get a lot of folks who have never run for office before and want to run as a Green, whether it's for everything from dog catcher and school board, to U.S. Senate," said Hillary Kane, who is a co-chair of this year’s meeting.

With 2013 being an off-year for federal campaigns, this weekend the party also wants to focus on their national standing. Currently, they hold no seats in U.S. federal government. Party officials said the key to change is adding more voters to the 300,000 already registered.

"Lots of people do agree with the principals we lay out, they just are afraid to make the change electorally," said Darryl! Moch, with the party’s steering committee.

Moch said the group has to get people to realize a Green vote isn't a throw away. Do that, and he said the party could be taking federal spots in coming years.

"My hope personally is by 2020 that we'll be really strong. But I would love for it to happen sooner," said Moch.

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala address 2013 Green Party national meeting

Green Party Watch
July 31, 2013

On July 27th, 2013, Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala addressed the Annual National Meeting of the Green Party of the United States in Iowa City, Iowa.

Watch live streaming video from greenpartyus at livestream.com

"Neither Left nor Right, but Forward"

Russia Today / YouTube  
July 30, 2013

Jill Stein on Green Party's prospects in 2016

The Green Party's 2012 Presidential Candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, sits down with RT Political Commentator Sam Sacks to talk about what she and the Party learned from last year's election, the state of third parties in American politics, and how new political coalitions building in the wake of the NSA revelations could be a boon for Green Party membership.

Movement Politics Carries Greens to 2016

Russia Today / YouTube
July 29, 2013

Members of the Green Party from all around the nation descended on Iowa to hold their annual national meeting. Although the party doesn't have the sort of funding, media attention, and ballot access as the two major parties, members believe they are on standing on the spear tip of a movement that could propel third party candidates into elected office. And with news coming out of Washington that exposes the similarities between two major political parties, the Green may just be right. RT Political Commentator Sam Sacks reports from Iowa.

Two party system failing even at local level, Greens point out

Voice of Russia
July 29, 2013

Cam Gordon addresses the annual convention of the Green Party of the United States in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo:Carmen Russell-Sluchansky) IOWA CITY (VOR)— While many people might know about Jill Stein's run for president as the Green Party nominee last year, or Ralph Nader's several attempts in years past, the Green Party has been seeking - and winning - local elections around the country.

One prominent officeholder is Cam Gordon, who currently serves on the city council in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was at the annual Green Party convention held in Iowa City, Iowa, this year. Carmen Russell-Sluchansky talked to Gordon about his role as a Green city councilor, what that might mean for city politics, and why he thinks the two party system has failed even at the municipal level.

 

Jill Stein mulls future White House run

The Daily Iowan
by Robert Crozier
July 29, 2013

In addition to speaking behind a podium, Jill Stein became familiar with one other place during her 2012 Green Party bid for the White House: the inside of a jail cell.

Stein laughed about her three civil disobedience arrests in an interview this past weekend after delivering a speech at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

Her first arrest, at an August 2012 Fannie Mae protest in Philadelphia, did serve one purpose.

"To make the point that this is the stuff of a presidential debate," she said. "You know, why is this going on? Why are we bailing out the banks, still, and the mortgage lenders to the tune of $85 billion a month, when they are unjustly evicting families due to a crisis that was of their own making?"

A second arrest came after she attempted to walk into one of the presidential debates in October 2012.

Stein's position on the issues of tuition and student loans may particularly appeal to students.

In her eyes, tuition should be free, with student loans being done away with all together.

"We've always made that commitment, to help our younger generation get started, rather than be a cash cow for banks and lenders …" she said. "What society has ever survived by devouring its younger generation? That's what we're doing economically right now, and it's outrageous that this is happening."

Despite being on the national ballot for 85 percent of Americans, she garnered less than 1 percent of the popular vote in 2012, finishing behind President Obama, Mitt Romney, and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

"The tables are tilted very steeply against independent politics," she said. "We spent most of our campaign budget getting on the ballot for those 85 percent of voters, and giving them a choice, and then we were locked out of the debates, where voters are entitled to hear about their choices."

University of Iowa Associate Professor of political science Tim Hagle said smaller parties have to justify being put on the ballot.

"You have to have some sort of control; otherwise, as a voter, when you look at a ballot, you'd have 100 different parties, some of which might be represented by no more then a dozen different people," he said.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said politicians have to work within the constitutionally provided winner-take-all system.

"I personally think our political system right now is open to people who want to have various viewpoints," he said. "What I'd really like to see the green movement do is move both of the main political parties in the direction of better environmental stewardship and sustainability."

Because the 2012 presidential election resulted in a Democratic victory, Hagle said, Stein's participation had no effect. The Green Party primarily pulls votes from the Democrats, he said.

"The way our system is sort of structured, it would be very, very difficult for a third party to do anything other then act as a spoiler," he said.

"Will I run [in 2016]? I think there's a good chance, but I haven't put my husband through that conversation," Stein said.

Green Party holds national meeting at IMU

Presidential candidate Stein attacks Obama, calls on area progressives to leave Democrats


Iowa City Press-Citizen
by Adam B Sullivan
July 27, 2013

Green Party officials are urging progressive voters to drop the Democratic Party.

The Green Party is hosting its annual national meeting this weekend in Iowa City, drawing activists and supporters from around the country. Jill Stein, the party's 2012 presidential candidate, delivered they keynote address Saturday at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Stein is taking a harsh stance against President Barack Obama, saying his Democratic administration hardly differs from Republicans.

"He makes George W. Bush look like a wimp when it comes to dictatorial powers and the imperial presidency," Stein told the Press-Citizen in an interview. " ... Barack Obama has just descended to incredible depths of injustice and murder."

Stein was on most states' ballots in last year's presidential race, but garnered less than 1 percent of the vote, behind Obama, Republican Mitt Romney and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

However, Stein said the party's lack of electoral success isn't because Americans don't identify with the Green platform. Instead, she blames the major parties for quieting dissent. Third-party candidates face challenges getting their names on ballots and neither Stein nor other third-party candidates were allowed to in the 2012 presidential debates.

"If we can't have a full and fair discussion in the time of a presidential election, when exactly are we going to have this discussion?" Stein said.

In fact, Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested when they showed up at the Obama-Romney debate last October at Hoffstra University.

"We were arrested because we were trying to go in. We were brought to a detention facility and handcuffed to chairs for about eight hours until the debate was long over, with the Secret Service and Homeland Security and everybody — there were 16 police officers looking over the two of us," Stein said.

The Green Party started as a collection of state organizations in the mid-1980s, aiming to promote progressive positions, especially on the environment, labor and foreign policy. The party got a boon in 2000 when candidate Ralph Nader earned almost 3 percent nationally in the presidential election, but the party hasn't posted such high numbers in a national election since.

Still, Green Party organizers predict more voters will grow too frustrated with both major parties in coming years.

"As we know from the major dominant parties that are running the country, there's very little difference between the politics of what one hand is doing and what another hand is doing," said Darryl Moch, national co-chair of the Green Party. "What we've found, is all the people between those two hands are struggling and they're suffering."

The party's name reflects its emphasis on environmental issues, but the Green Party has a broad platform on a slew of political and social issues. For instance, the party opposes the United States' global military reach, supports broader rights for women and minorities, and pushes for harsher punishments against financial sector workers mixed up in potentially dangerous trading.

The party also uses its network to advocate on local issues — even things like agricultural zoning changes.

"The joke is every time a hog lot or an egg factory goes into some rural place, our membership doubles. You can actually see that," said Holly Hart, an Iowa City resident and secretary of the Iowa Green Party.

Honkala said Iowa in particular is a state which could drift closer to the Green Party in coming years.

"I think that the majority of the people I've talked to in this state are really tired. They're tired of the rhetoric, they're tired of corporate America swallowing up their families' futures. I would bet, maybe not tomorrow, but I think Iowa is going to go Green," she said.

 

Green Shadow Cabinet to demonstrate alternative to U.S. political establishment

Voice of Russia 
July 26, 2013


Cheri Honkala, Vice President in the Green Shadow Cabinet (left) speaks to the annual convention of the U.S. Green Party while "President" Jill Stein and "Secretary of Culture" (far right) (Photo: Carmen Russell-Sluchansky)WASHINGTON (VOR) — The annual national Green Party convention is going on in Iowa City this weekend.

Present are the party's 2012 nominees for president and vice president, Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. VOR correspondent Carmen Russell-Sluchansky sat down at the event with Stein, Honkala and Shamako Noble, who worked on the Stein/Honkala campaign last year. They talked about the issues that separate the Green Party from the Democrats and Republicans, arguing the U.S. is really a one-party state with Democrats and Republicans largely agreeing on major issues. They also discussed their campaign's new effort, the Green Shadow Cabinet, an alternative to the cabinet of President Barack Obama which they deem too compromised by corporate interests to work for the benefit of the American people.

IC Hosting Green Party Natl. Meeting

CBS2 Iowa
July 26, 2013

IOWA CITY, IA -- You may have seen their national campaigns. Many of them haven't yielded many elected officials for the Green Party.

But in Iowa, and across the nation, the Green Party is aiming for smaller seats and working from the ground up.

"Many of our priority elections are actually going to be at the local level," said 2012 Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein.

"There have been a few legislative successes around the country but mostly its been school boards, city councils and we've had them here in Iowa," said National Green Party Committee Delegate Holly Hart.

A controversial ruling like deciding to close the Hoover Elementary School in Iowa City is a chance for the green party to be most effective. It just hasn't quite happened yet in Iowa.

"I know in Maine, several school boards have been effected by greens being elected," said Hart.

"We're there, we're responsible to the people that elect us," said Jesse Townley, a candidate for the Green Party's Steering Committee.

And while Hart says there hasn't been a lot of support for Green candidates and initiatives locally, she says she has gotten interest recently from some Iowa City teachers.

That interest might not have been possible without getting exposure by running for offices in the past, that the party didn't win.

"So you get people interested in that and they're interested in having politically active people and Green people what do we think what can we do to help," said Hart.

That's all the party needs. If it can shape the debate in election season and provide another choice for citizens who want a voice at all other times, it's reached its goal.

"Everyday people are struggling and it doesn't have to be that way," said Stein. For the rest of the weekend the meetings events are focused on teaching members how to start and run a campaign and promote green policies.

The Green Party also supports racial equity, an issue that's been in the news recently here in Iowa City.

Green Party gathers in IC

The Daily Iowan
by Robert Crozier
July 26, 2013

Green Party faithful from across the country have converged in Iowa City for their annual national meeting this weekend after local Greens submitted the most compelling bid to the political party.

It was also the only bid.

Last year in Baltimore, the party nominated Jill Stein in its failed 2012 bid for the White House.

This year, a political off-season as far as the presidency is concerned, the roughly 100 delegates to the convention plan to conduct some party business, but they will also attend workshops with such titles as "The Racial Equality Lens: An Anti-Oppression Training for White People" and "How to Put On an Event."

Pending party business includes electing members of the steering committee and discussing the strategic plan.

Media coordinator Scott McLarty said the Greens chose Iowa City because the plan submitted by the Iowa Green Party was the most compelling.

"I think we're also mindful of the fact that, in this general area, people tend to be kind of progressive …" he said. "As we grow as a national party, we want to become more familiar with Iowa, and we want Iowa to become more familiar with us."

Iowa Green Party Secretary Holly Hart said the Iowa party had submitted the only bid.

"They wanted to do it somewhere where there was local Green activity," she said, noting that having the meeting in the city would inspire local Greens to run for office and incorporate more recruiting.

Thursday culminated in a panel discussion featuring, among others, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, and Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City.

Hogg said he came to the Green Party event, which filled about a quarter of the seats in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber, because he was invited.

"I'm willing to talk to any audience any time about the defining historical issue of our time, which is climate change," he said.

This year's meeting in Iowa City cost the party around $10,000, McLarty said.

Today and Saturday will feature more workshops and events, most open to the public and most in the IMU.

Stein will speak at a fundraising lunch on Saturday at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

"We want to emerge as a strong party for the 21st century. We consider ourselves an imperative for the 21st century," McLarty said, contending that the two dominant parties are "addicted" to corporate money. "We offer things that the Republicans and Democrats don't."

UI alumnus and Green Party staffer David Sacks said he supports the party because America needs politics based on good public policy instead of re-election.

"We're about building a political party where the power isn't derived from corporate money," he said. "Democracy needs to be based on individuals."

Several Green Party members said the party refuses to accept corporate donations.

Mike Feinstein, a former mayor of Santa Monica, Calif., said there are approximately 140 elected Greens in the United States, mostly in city councils, municipal boards, and school boards.

Only a few have been elected mayor.

"The lack of sustainability of our lifestyle as a species has spurred similar reactions from social movements all over the world," Feinstein said.

Our View: Iowa is fertile ground for third party politics

Press-Citizen
July 25, 2013


"What do you think of that presidential candidate," says one Iowa farmer to another.

"I don't know yet," the caucus-themed punchline goes. "I've only met him three times."

For nearly four decades now, Iowans have gotten used to the quadrennial ritual of having major party presidential candidates come to the state to make their case directly to voters in restaurants, coffeehouses, libraries, backyards, fairgrounds, convention centers, factories, etc. (And those candidates who think they can rely merely on surrogates and TV spots soon find themselves losing momentum on caucus night.)

Because Iowans take their first-in-the-nation responsibilities seriously, they not only go to see those presidential hopefuls they support, but they also go to check out the competition — whether the candidates from another party or those candidates who seem more to the fringes of their own party. (And caucus night analysis often features heated discussions about whether some of those unsuccessful major party candidates will break away from their party and campaign on the top of a third-party ticket.)

With the 2012 Iowa caucuses now solidly behind us, some local political junkies may been in need of a national political fix until the campaign for the 2016 Iowa caucus begins in earnest. That's why we think local residents of all political stripes should consider checking out this weekend's national meeting of the Green Party in Iowa City.

The convention kicked off Thursday, but today's public events include a local peace vigil downtown and a screening of the film, "5Broken Cameras," in the Iowa Memorial Union. And Saturday's events in the Iowa City Public Library include a panel of elected Greens from across the country as well as a luncheon with Jill Stein, the party's 2012 presidential candidate. (For a full schedule, go to www.gp.org/meetings/Iowa2013.)

Iowa seems an apt place for a third party to hold its national meeting. Unlike in many other states, Iowa's election laws make it possible for smaller parties to participate more fully in state politics:

• Iowa voters are allowed to register as members of smaller parties.

• Smaller party candidates face surpass-able bureaucratic requirements to get their names on the ballot.

• And Iowa is one of the few states without a "sore loser law." (Most other states have laws or election timelines that make it impossible for a candidate who loses a party primary to run as an independent in the general election.)

We're glad Iowa is fertile ground for smaller party politics, and we hope the Republican and Democratic lawmakers in more states will push for legislation to ensure that all U.S. citizens retain the right to choose between:

• Voting for the major party candidate they consider the "lesser of two evils,"

• Or leaving the big tents to vote for the smaller party candidate who most closely matches their views.

National Green Party convention starts today in Iowa City

Globe Gazette
by JAMES Q. LYNCH
July 25, 2013


CEDAR RAPIDS — There will be fewer of them and they're not likely to attract the media attention their major political party counterparts get, but Holly Hart believes the national convention of the Green Party will be groundbreaking in its own way.

"I don't think any major party has had a national convention in Iowa. So we're the first," the secretary of the Iowa Green Party said Wednesday.

The Green Party of the United States convention will get under way today at the University of Iowa Memorial Union.

The schedule will include workshops on running for public office and racial equality, a peace vigil and panel discussions on enacting "Green" public policy, proportional representation and abolishing corporate personhood.

Most sessions are open to the public.

About 100 people are registered for the national meeting and some, Hart said, will be wearing tie-dye T-shirts and hemp clothing.

"But a lot of the guys, especially the younger guys, will wear suits and ties — American flag ties," she said. "It runs the gamut."

A priority of the non-election year gathering will be discussing how to get Green candidates on the ballot and attract like-minded voters into the political process, Hart said.

Jill Stein, the party's presidential candidate in 2012 and, perhaps, again in 2016, will participate in the convention.

"However, it's early for us to think about nominating candidates — even in Iowa," Hart said. So there will be strategic planning as well as an emphasis on encouraging and recruiting local level candidates and showing people that being Green is "not just running for president every four years and not winning,"

"We want people to know they can do this," Hart said. Greens want to tap into the public's concern about climate change, clean energy and food-related issues.

"Before the caucuses, we want to get people thinking and provide resources for people to learn about their issues before they go to the major party caucuses," she said.

The Greens will bring in some major party officials. Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Francis Thicke, a former Democratic candidate for state ag secretary, will discuss how to enact Green policy at a panel discussion tonight at Old Capitol.

"We know people who would be interested in politics and public policy if they could be Green," Hart said. "We think we are an option that triggers their interest and gets more people involved in political process."

The Greens also will have a peace vigil from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the northwest corner of Clinton and Washington streets.

To see the Green convention schedule, visit www.gp.org/meetings/Iowa2013.

National Green Party convention starts in Iowa City July 25

The Gazette
July 24, 2013

Priority of non-election year gathering to discuss how to get Green candidates on ballot

There will be fewer of them and they're not likely to attract the media attention their major political party counterparts get, but Holly Hart believes the national convention of the Green Party will be groundbreaking in its own way.

"I don't think any major party has had a national convention in Iowa. So we're the first," the secretary of the Iowa Green Party said Wednesday.

The Green Party of the United States convention will get underway July 25 at the University of Iowa Memorial Union. The schedule will include workshops on running for public office and racial equality, a peace vigil and panel discussions on enacting "Green" public policy, proportional representation and abolishing corporate personhood.

Most sessions are open to the public.

About 100 people are registered for the national meeting and some, Hart said, will be wearing tie-dye t-shirts and hemp clothing.

A priority of the non-election year gathering will be discussing how to get Green candidates on the ballot and attract like-minded voters into the political process, Hart said.

Jill Stein, the party's presidential candidate in 2012 and, perhaps, again in 2014, will participate in the convention.

"However, it's early for us to think about nominating candidates — even in Iowa," Hart said. So there will be strategic planning as well as an emphasis on encouraging and recruiting local level candidates and showing people that being Green is "not just running for president every four years and not winning,"

"We want people to know they can do this," Hart said. Greens want to tap into the public's concern about climate change, clean energy and food-related issues.

"Before the caucuses, we want to get people thinking and provide resources for people to learn about their issues before they go to the major party caucuses," she said.

The Greens will bring in some major party officials. Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Francis Thicke, a former Democratic candidate for state ag secretary, will discuss how to enact Green policy at a Thursday night panel discussion at Old Capitol.

"We know people who would be interested in politics and public policy if they could be Green," Hart said. "We think we are an option that triggers their interest and gets more people involved in political process."

The Greens also will have a peace vigil from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the northwest corner of Clinton and Washington streets.

To see the Green convention schedule, visit http://www.gp.org/meetings/Iowa2013/.

 

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