Greens Lead Takeover of New Paltz, N.Y.
Progressives elected to a majority in New Paltz in an upset victory.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Six months after the Green Party of New York State lost ballot status, the Green Party led a progressive takeover of the Village of New Paltz in New York.
In an upset victory, Green Party of New York State committee member Jason West was elected Mayor of the Village of New Paltz. Green Party member Rebecca Rotzler was elected Trustee. State University of New York (SUNY-NP) student Julia Walsh was also elected Trustee. The three united in a progressive coalition titled "Innovation Campaign" with both the Green Party and Innovation Party listed on the ballot line.
"New York Greens lost ballot status in 2002 after failing to win at least 50,000 votes for their gubernatorial candidate, a requirement under New York's ballot access rules designed by the Democrats and Republicans in collusion," said Mark Dunlea, chair of the Green Party of New York State. "New York Greens have filed a so far successful suit to retain the right of New York voters to enroll in the party. That's why we consider our victories in New Paltz so important for third parties. This is the first time Green politics and policies of clean government and ecological sustainability will be tried in New York at the municipal level. New York voters will see Greens in action."
Jason West campaigned for mayor on a platform of environmentally sustainability, calling for the creation of artificial wetlands to help the water treatment plant filter water without toxic chemicals.
West also pledged to have Village government use solar power and wind energy, and to use biodiesel fuel in Department of Public Works trucks. He previously ran on the Green ticket for State Assembly in New York.
"After years of working as a Green, with much success in implementing local policy, the state of today's political environment left me no choice but to take a public position where true democracy will be represented," said Rebecca Rotzler. "The bombs dropped on Iraq on March 19, my birthday, were a horrific wakeup call. New Paltz is Green at heart, and the people proved that on May 6."
Rotzler grew up in Alaska, and has resided in New Paltz for 11 years. She attended SUNY-NP as a communication studies major where she served as President of Students for a Free Tibet. She is also a member of the local organization 9-11 People Against Racism.
A Yupik Eskimo, Rotzler is the third elected Green who is Native American. The other two are Cass Lake, Minnesota Mayor Elaine Fleming and Della Coburn of the Kasaan Tribal Council in Alaska.
At least 178 Greens in 24 states now hold elected office in the U.S.