I would first like to thank John Rensenbrink for nominating me for Steering Committee co-chair. I can’t think of a more flattering nomination letter. I’d also like to thank Wesson, Matt, Lyn, Elie, Darryl!, Robin, and Jaimi for showing me the love. Your support will serve as a constant motivator for me on the Steering Committee.
There are three main abilities I would personally look for in choosing a national co-chair: administrative skills, working well with others, and public relations. These are the three main issues I will focus on in this statement. For a more personal introduction, check out my video bio here.
In terms of the administrative duties that come with being co-chair, I have read and familiarized myself with the bylaws and the duties and limitations of the Steering Committee. I can navigate through bylaws with ease, having worked on bylaws in the past both in my state party (New Jersey) and as co-chair of national committees (International and Diversity). I have a few ideas I’d like to implement within the boundaries of my duties, but these are the major ones:
1. Ballot Access Plan:
I intend to work with the Ballot Access Committee to ensure they have all the necessary resources to put together a National Plan for Ballot Access. We are a decentralized party, but ballot access is something we can and should work on at the national level. Several of our wonderful volunteers have the means to cross state boundaries to petition, and I’d like to see us put all of GPUS in action to gain ballot access in some of the more difficult states. For example, last year when Pennsylvania was on a tight deadline to gather signatures for the Hawkins/Walker campaign, I drove down to Philadelphia with several other NJ Greens to help out. This is something I’d like to see more of, and I would be happy to facilitate its coordination. But a national ballot access plan is not just about petitioning. There are so many volunteer tasks that Greens across the country can help with to achieve ballot access in all states. In that vein, I’d like to do my part to ensure the Steering Committee is facilitating the work of multiple committees to implement a national ballot access plan, including Media, Fundraising, Outreach, Ballot Access, and more.
2. Candidate Starter Pack:
I would like to work with the Coordinated Campaign Committee to ensure they have all the necessary resources to put together a starter pack for our Green candidates. This would include things like a platform template (for each specific office), pre-coded sheets for a webpage (HTML and CSS), and pre-designed reading material to hand out (flyers, etc.). Candidates wouldn’t be obligated to use these resources, of course, but I am sure a starter pack of this nature would not only assist candidates, but also encourage would-be candidates to make the leap and run for office. Once you have a platform, a webpage, and flyers to hand out, campaigning then becomes more about putting boots on the ground, fundraising, and doing the legwork. At the national level, I think it’s easy to assist with the former tasks so that candidates and their state and local parties can focus on the latter.
3. Political Education Webinars:
In order for a party to be effective, we all need to be more or less on the same page. Our differences shouldn’t be political, but rather, strategic. Oftentimes, I see arguments on various listservs resulting from a lack of understanding certain terminology or lack of familiarity with our principles as a party. I would like to make it a habit of providing consistent webinars, for members of GPUS, regarding various issues to keep us all on the same page. In addition, these webinars could also serve as an orientation for new members who need to familiarize themselves with our principles and objectives.
With regards to working well with others, I think it’s important for any co-chair to be a team player. I take a lot of pride in my diplomacy, and am always friendly and upbeat, paying respect to those who are putting in the work around me. While I don’t claim to be a one-size-fits-all type personality, I am proud to say that I’ve been able to work well with just about all Greens. With the SC members who are staying on, I am thankful to have a very good relationship with most of them. Anita Rios and I have worked in the past on the Diversity Committee, and as the current liaison of the International Committee, she and I have had nothing but positive interactions. Tamar Yager and I worked a bit on planning the Annual National Meeting in Newark 4 years ago, and I served as her “in-house physician” when she suffered an unfortunate injury. All positive. Hillary Kane and I have had countless interactions over the years as well, and it has always been a pleasure. And while I don’t have an extensive history with Margaret Elisabeth, I have been very excited to work with them ever since reading their bio a few years ago; I can only assume working together would be just as fruitful. In fact, here is a thank-you letter that was sent to me by the current SC a few months ago, which further demonstrates our mutual respect for one another, in addition to my skills in diplomacy at the international level.
A nice segue into the final issue I’d like to discuss: public relations. One of the duties of our co-chairs is being the primary spokespeople for the party, and I have extensive experience doing so. I am very confident with public speaking and very informed in the politics that drive our platform and mission. At the state level, I have participated in debates and panels representing our platform. At the international level, I’ve been elected to represent GPUS at a number of international organizations, including the Global Greens, the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas, and the Sao Paulo Forum. Quite a few of these conferences included folks from other national organizations whom most US Greens would consider right-wing environmentalists. While it was difficult, I managed to navigate when to lay a firm hand and when to seek common ground. I believe foreign delegations around the world would describe me as someone who is unapologetically leftist, but also respectful and easy to work with. Here is a slideshow I made of every foreign Green I had meaningful discussions with at the Global Greens Congress in 2017, and here is one of my video reports from the Sao Paulo Forum in 2018.
In closing, I’d just like to once again thank my supporters for pushing me to explore the next level of organizing, and to let all delegates know that I’d love to get to know you and answer any questions you might have. You can email me at [email protected]. Please consider ranking me 1st, I’d appreciate it very much.
Endorsements can also be emailed to me, and I’ll add them to the bottom of this page.
Ahmed Eltouny, New Jersey delegate