December Green Star from Pennsylvania
From the Chair, Sheri Miller
In this final Newsletter of 2018, I wanted to look back over the year and review our many accomplishments! Through the volunteer efforts of nearly 100 signature gatherers, we were able to get six candidates on the PA ballot. We also had a special election candidate and, after we received a request by voters in Congressional District 13 who wanted alternative choices on November 6, we were able to mount a write-in campaign.
Although we were still shunned by the mainstream media, our campaigns had much greater visibility than in past years. Topics such as fracking, global warming, increased militarism and war, prisons for profit, community-based economics, the Green New Deal, local control over police, legalization of marijuana and an end to the racially-disproportionate war on drugs were discussed and heard by many all through the campaign season thanks to PCN, Philly Women Rally, Real Progressives, the PA League of Women Voters. Grist Magazine, and the many other organizations and media outlets that published news, conducted interviews, and hosted debates or forums that included our candidates. In addition, we had a historic win when your emails and calls to the PA League of Women Voters convinced them to withdraw as hosts of the Senatorial debate because it was limited to only the two major parties.
This year we've also had great successes in restructuring the way we work. Meetings have been well-organized and well-attended; we’ve implemented new technology to be more efficient and improve our communications; we designed a new membership program that has increased our sustaining donor base and made it easier for people to officially be a part of GPPA as followers; we designed surveys to gather member input which led to new Rules that were adopted by unanimous approval; and we reorganized our committees into four teams to improve continuity, engagement, grass-roots decision-making, and effectiveness. These teams have met regularly throughout the year (twice a month via video conference) and have had great success in reaching their goals!
Our teams are always in need of volunteers. By volunteering, you could be learning or gaining experience in skills that are useful for other organizing activities or for employment opportunities as well as contributing to the growth and strength of the Green Party as an alternative voice in Pennsylvania politics. Most of our team members volunteer just 2-4 hours per month but they are critical to our success. If you want to be a part of this effort, click HERE to join a Team!
Volunteers are the very foundation of a grassroots organization. Thank you to all of our current and future volunteers!
Everything we accomplished this year was achieved on a shoestring budget. Just imagine what we could do if we had funding for things such as phone-banking and texting services, canvassing applications that could map targeted routes, more campaign literature, advertisement such as radio or billboard ads, and support for candidates to get to debates, forums, and rallies throughout the state. We do not use corporate funding and we seek out candidates who represent real people, not millionaires. The only funding we, or they, have is from our supporters.
Just $3 a month can make a difference. It doesn’t sound like much, but if only 1/10th of our supporters contributed $3 a month, we would have significant funds for serious, competitive campaigns. According to new reports on global warming, we have very little time to change our energy production/consumption practices before it’s too late for us. As we move to a new year and to the local elections that will impact our lives directly and set the stage for 2020, consider becoming a sustaining member and be part of our grassroots efforts to change our politics and our world. Visit our membership page to join us as a supporter or just a follower HERE.
submitted by Sheri Miller and Jim Beggs
The bad news first: We did not win enough votes in the state-wide races (Governor and Senator) to retain our minor party status. What does this mean for GPPA? Pennsylvania has three statuses for political parties – major party, minor party and political body. As a political body or a minor party, we have the exact same signature requirements to get our candidates on the ballot for general elections. So we did not lose our “ballot access.” However, as a political body we will now have to collect signatures for special elections. Also, we won’t have as much control over who runs as a Green candidate and our candidates will need to be registered as Green at least 30 days before the primary election in order to run in the general. But overall, it will not change a lot in the way we function.
The good news is, our candidates did well in races with only one opponent where fear of the greater evil was not the biggest factor in voters’ minds. We had exciting campaigns with many coordinated volunteers and have a lot of momentum going into 2019! Read more about our reaction to the election in our official statement: PA Greens Learn Lessons from 2018 Elections.
GPPA News Highlights
submitted by Cheryl Rougeux
After the 2016 general election, the Jill Stein Campaign conducted a formal recount in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan because of the many irregularities and discrepancies that plagued the elections. Pennsylvania has over 9,000 precincts. In each precinct to be recounted, citizens needed to submit notarized affidavits within a very short time period. Greens and other concerned voters throughout the state participated. Their efforts were hampered by obstructive rules and unrealistic filing requirements. As a result, Jill Stein and four citizen plaintiffs, Randall Reitz, Robin Howe, Shannon Knight, and our PA Green, Emily Cook, filed a lawsuit that called for an end to the use of paperless voting machines known to be vulnerable to hacking, tampering and error, and for the reform of unworkable recount procedures that prevent verification of the vote.
The formal settlement from the lawsuit was announced on November 28th and guarantees that Pennsylvania will provide new voting systems using paper ballots by 2020, followed in 2022 by automatic robust audits after every election to confirm the accuracy of the vote before results are certified. In addition to paper ballots and automatic audits, the settlement allows Jill Stein and fellow plaintiffs to designate observers to ensure that the state carries out its commitments in full.
Stein declared, “This is a critical victory for everyone concerned with the integrity of our elections."
Cook added this challenge, "This settlement moves Pennsylvania closer to verifiable elections but it will be up to us, the voter, to ensure that counties purchase machines that not only use paper ballots but purchase machines that are untamperable and transparent. We must remain vigilant while the state composes their working committee. We want to be sure that monied interests don't interfere in this process as the committee creates standards for the machines. It's all about the machines."
PA Greens Gather to Celebrate Accomplishments and Plan for 2019
submitted by Jim Beggs
The Green Party of PA hosted its November Conference and Celebration over the weekend of November 17th to 18th in Harrisburg. Greens from around the state gathered to spend time with one another, regroup, and move forward with the momentum gained from the midterm election on November 6th. Delegates, members and supporters were present from: Allegheny, Wayne, Centre, Adams, Dauphin, Mifflin, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Berks, Lancaster and Philadelphia counties.
Saturday the 17th opened with a keynote speech from Steve Grumbine with Real Progressives, who spoke about his progressive vision for an economic system that helps a larger number of people instead of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few who profit at the expense of others. Steve stressed the importance of gaining a broad base of support for the progressive agenda.
Steve stuck around as the Green Party of PA's committees/teams spoke with members about the work they do. Representatives from the Communications, Green Wave, Core, and Finance committees sought to include members in their decision-making and welcome additional volunteers who want to help with the state party's endeavors.
Members led the afternoon workshops which facilitated brainstorming and teamwork for revising the state party's platform, taught the basics of being a treasurer, provided instructions on writing a proposal for the Green Party US, strategized on using local and social media for promotion, and conducted a mock local candidate endorsement to get ready for 2019.
After the workshops were over, many of the attendees enjoyed a dinner together in the VIP area of the the Firehouse restaurant on 2nd Street in Harrisburg. Spending time together during meals is a great opportunity to get to know one another better. Several people returned following dinner to watch a screening of "Unfractured," which documented the tremendous, grass-roots activism that led to a state-wide ban on fracking in New York. Afterwards, those who took advantage of the housing option shared in-depth, thought-provoking discussions late into the night.
The Sunday business meeting began with team work sessions to establish the 2019 team missions and goals. The next hour was spent debriefing the 2018 campaign season and election, strategizing what went well and what could be improved. After lunch members heard reports and announcements, approved the 2019 budget, and voted to endorse the "International Women’s Strike" in March and the "No to NATO March" in April.
Thanks to the members who planned and worked to make such a great experience in Harrisburg!
Green Candidate Jay Walker Receives Recognition for 'Bucking the Status Quo' and 'Making a Difference' in Pittsburgh Politics
submitted by Tim Runkle and Jay Walker
Two Pittsburgh publications, The Incline and the Pittsburgh City Paper, published separate lists in the same week recognizing Pittsburghers making a difference in their community. Green Candidate Jay Walker was named in both. The Incline solicited nominations for young people who make a difference through politics and then chose 25 honorees to be featured in, "Who’s Next: Politics; From the campaign trail to policymaking, 25 Pittsburghers making a difference." The Incline writes that its “Who's Next” series features "some of the most dynamic people under 40 shaping Pittsburgh every day. Our goal is to identify and track the next generation of leaders and influencers." Jay's nominator wrote, "Walker is “working to build up the Green Party as a viable alternative choice for voters in an overwhelmingly Democratic city where many local races feature only once choice on the ballot.”
In the same week, the Pittsburgh City Paper published the editorial, "Fresh faces of Pennsylvania politics: Portraits of local political candidates who are bucking the state’s older-male dominated status quo," which highlights six candidates who are bringing fresh perspectives to the city's political scene. The City Paper writes that "Walker – who is Asian-American and African-American – vows to focus on racial justice, worker’s rights, and environmentalism. He supports unions, ending gerrymandering, and single-payer healthcare, as well as strengthening transportation infrastructure for public transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians."
submitted by Tim Runkle
Coming up soon! This Tuesday, December 11, 2018 from 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. This webinar is designed for anyone interested in being more active in Green Party campaigns, particularly in the role of treasurer. Presented nationally by PA Greens Tim Runkle and Hillary Kane.
The January Virtual Meeting/Winter Web Conference will be held between 12pm and 4pm January the 13th. Elections for officer positions and national representatives will take place at that time. Delegates must be present to vote. Nominations are open now and will close after December 31st. Visit the GPPA Nominations Page to nominate someone or to self-nominate. RSVP to get meeting information through the link in the heading or through the GPPA Calendar.
2019 Meeting Dates
Meeting Dates for 2019 were chosen at the November Conference:
- January Virtual Meeting/Winter Web Conference: Sunday, January 13th, 12pm-4pm
- March Convention: Saturday - Sunday, March 23-24
- May Virtual Meeting/Spring Web Conference: Sunday, May 19th, 12pm-4pm
- Summer Retreat: Saturday - Sunday, July 13-14
- September Virtual Meeting/Fall Web Conference: Sunday, September 15th, 12pm-4pm
- Fall Conference & Celebration: Saturday - Sunday, November 16-17
Web Conferences are online - RSVP to get connection information. The locations for in-person conferences are to be determined. In-person conferences can be hosted by counties, county groups or regions. These events are fundraisers. When hosted locally, the host group receives back half of the revenue after expenses. To apply for hosting, submit your info to our Application for Local Hosting of GPPA State Meetings or GPPA-Sponsored Events. We strive for geographic diversity in reviewing applications, however, all submissions are considered.
Check out our newest fundraiser, brought to you by the Communications Team! Our graphics specialist, Kevin Richardson, has designed t-shirts for us that align with our social-justice values; just in time for the Women's March in January!
Check out our merchandise page to find a way to #BeSeenBeingGreen
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Green Party of Pennsylvania Communications & Media Committee
Green Party of Pennsylvania
Issue Credits: Sheri Miller, Jim Beggs, Jay Walker, Cheryl Rougeux, Tim Runkle
Additional resources from the Green Party of the United States
Green Party of the United States https://www.gp.org
News Center https://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
Video Page https://www.gp.org/video/index.php
Green Papers https://www.greenpapers.net/
Livestream Channel https://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus
GP-TV Twitter page https://www.gp.org/twitter
Facebook page https://www.gp.org/facebook
Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States https://gp.org/greenpages-blog