Green Party of Virginia 2022 newsletter
Next Business Meeting January 29
The next business meeting of the Green Party of Virginia (GPVA) is Saturday, January 29th at 1pm. This will be a teleconference meeting, with information about how to join by phone or computer to be disseminated on the business list-serve 48 hours before the meeting begins. The focus of this meeting is election of new officers and national delegates.
Offices to be filled include co-chair, press secretary, and general secretary. Nominations must be made, and accepted by the nominee, on the business list- serve at least 24 hours before the meeting is set to begin. This is to allow the secretary sufficient time to prepare ballots.
Additional items on the agenda include approval of the new Platform format, discussion of the Strategic Plan, and consideration of a proposal for the GPUS Platform. GPVA meetings are open and public, and every member, and even interested non-members, are encouraged to participate.
GPVA Adopts New Bylaws Affecting Membership and Dues
In a series of bylaw changes adopted by the Green Party of Virginia at business meetings in 2020 and 2021, changes were introduced affecting membership status in the state party. These rules have no effect on membership in local parties; locals will continue to be responsible for setting rules for membership in their local’s bylaws. Also, any member of a Green local in Virginia (including the At-Large local) is automatically a member in good standing of the GPVA.
The bylaws, which are published on the GPVA website at https://vagreenparty.org/about-us/bylaws, created a category of fully-participating membership in the GPVA, a category that distinguishes members who are actually active in state party business from those who are passive members or whose participation is entirely restricted to their local party. To be a fully-participating member of the GPVA, it is required to be a member in good standing of a local, to certify or update one’s contact information on the GPVA website at least once every 12 months, and to pay some form of dues at least once every 12 months.
To certify or update your contact information, simply log-in to the website and click on “my account” in the top right of the page. On your account information page click “edit” at the top of your information, update any information that has changed, and then ensure the current date is listed in the Member Information Review Date field. Then click save.
Dues can be paid using the “Donate” button at the top left of any page on the website. The recommended dues is $36 annually/$3 monthly. However, there is no required minimum. You can pay any amount you wish, and it will satisfy the dues requirement for being a fully-participating member.
Those lacking adequate internet access may update their contact information by sending it to the general secretary, and dues may be sent by mail to Green Party of Virginia, PO Box 7316, Falls Church VA 22040.
The number of fully-participating members at a local is important for that local to have a voice in state party business. Specifically, the local’s representative cannot have their vote counted on major decisions at a business meeting unless their local has at least three fully-participating members.
GPVA Wins Federal Court Case against Virginia Board of Elections
The Green Party of Virginia and its partners won a partial victory in a lawsuit against the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) in July, 2020. The GPVA joined with the Libertarian Party of Virginia, the Independent Green Party of Virginia, and the Constitution Party to challenge ballot access petition signature requirements set by the Virginia Board of Elections for the 2020 general election, citing the difficulty and danger of in-person petitioning during the COVID pandemic.
The GPVA and its partners petitioned the court to waive the in-person petitioning requirements, citing the risk to both petitioners and the general public from petitioning activity at a time when even the court itself was imposing strict social distancing requirements to minimize the risk of infection from SARS-COV-2. The state’s lawyers responded that there was no evidence that an undue burden was placed on petitioners by the need to collect signatures during the pandemic.
Under Virginia Code, third-party candidates for U.S. Senate must obtain 10,000 qualified signatures of registered Virginia voters, third-party candidates for U.S. House of Representatives 1,000 signatures, and third-party candidates for U.S. president 5,000 signatures.
The GPVA and other third-parties sought relief in the form of an injunction that would lift the petitioning requirement entirely, or in lieu of that permit online petitioning with electronic signatures.
The case was brought in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and was heard by federal district judge John A Gibney, Jr. The parties bringing the suit were represented by the firm of attorney Robert Barnes, a well-regarded lawyer with long experience representing third parties in ballot access cases.
Testimony was taken from representatives of each of the petitioning political parties. The GPVA was represented in court by past co-chair and present general secretary B. Sidney Smith, who testified that the petitioning requirement not only placed an unreasonable burden for ballot access on the GPVA, but also put our petitioners and the public with whom they interact at serious risk, given the then-rampant pandemic. Representatives of the other parties testified similarly.
On July 15th, 2020, Judge Gibney issued his ruling, which found in favor of the plaintiffs. Judge Gibney issued an injunction against the Virginia SBE, requiring the SBE to extend the deadlines for petitioning and to reduce the signature requirements for Senate and House of Representatives to 35% of the statutory requirement, and for President and Vice President to 50% of the statutory requirement.
While this was a victory for the plaintiffs, in that the court agreed with the petitioners in finding that the Virginia SBE’s petition signature requirements placed an undue burden, the court failed to grant the relief that had been requested, leaving the GPVA with the burden of attempting to gather thousands more signatures at a time when social distancing rules made doing so in public spaces all but impossible.
In a remarkable footnote, on February 12, 2021, Democratic Party candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates won a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Richmond, with an injunction that permitted them to collect their ballot access petition signatures electronically. The GPVA is hopeful that this precedent will help us in our own ballot access struggles in coming elections.
GPVA Takes Public Stands on Important Issues
Over the years, the GPVA has taken critical stances on the pressing issues of the day through the release of timely press releases. Below are some of the many that have been published over the last two years:
Green Party of Virginia Opposes New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure; Calls for Real Green New Deal
- Green Party of Virginia Condemns Recent Airstrikes on Iraq
The GPVA Calls For Addressing Root Issues Driving 2A Divisions, Honoring the Message of Dr. Martin Luther King
- GPVA Calls On Virginians to Reject Misleading Redistricting Constitutional Amendment
- GPVA Statement on the Novel Coronavirus
- An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Supporters
Governor Northam Chooses Businesses over Virginia Workers, Teachers and State Employees in the Midst of Pandemic
- 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
- Statement on Juneteenth 2020
Green Party of Virginia Declares Solidarity with Sanders Delegation In Their Demands For Medicare for All
- Statement on Labor Day 2020
Green Party of Virginia Statement: Democratic Governors Joint Statement on Threats to American Democracy Is Hypocrisy
The Green Party of Virginia Affirms Support for the Trans Community Calls for Systemic Social Justice Reforms on Transgender Remembrance Day
Green Party of Virginia Condemns Violence At Capitol Building; Calls For Election Reforms To Restore Trust
The Green Party of Virginia endorses and publicly supports the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality Day After Action Demonstration
- GPVA Condemns Poison Pill Provisions of H.R. 1 Calls for an End to Party Suppression
- GPVA Condemns Atlanta Spa Shootings Calls for Systemic Changes to End Anti-Asian Xenophobia
Green Party of Virginia Calls for Immediate Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Use Calls on Members to Lobby General Assembly
Green Party of Virginia Opposes Del-Mar Fracked Gas Pipeline Expansion Stands in Solidarity with Maryland Green Party
- Green Party of Virginia Supports Striking Nabisco Workers Calls for Legislative Action to Support Workers
Green Party of the United States Grapples with Division, Loses 3 State Parties
Greens distinguish themselves by taking on serious issues of social and political justice, and this sometimes leads to division within the party. Unfortunately, disagreements over the status of socialism in the party, and over the rights of trans gender citizens, led to schism in the Green Party of the United States in 2021, resulting in the disaffiliation of the Green Parties of Alaska, Rhode Island, and Georgia.
In the case of Alaska and Rhode Island, underlying tension over the status of socialism in the Green Movement, and in particular over the selection of socialist Green Howie Hawkins of New York as the party’s presidential candidate, led these states to fail to meet their affiliation agreements by refusing to back Hawkins in the election. Alaska nominated its own candidate, while Rhode Island refused to take any steps to achieve ballot access for Hawkins or support his campaign.
The affiliation requirements for state parties in the GPUS specify that state parties must support the national candidates duly nominated at the GPUS presidential nominating convention, and work to achieve ballot access for the candidate in their states.
The GPUS Accreditation Committee is tasked with investigating complaints against state parties that fail to meet their obligations under the affiliation agreement. The committee found that the Green Party of Alaska, in nominating its own candidate, had violated the agreement, and forwarded to the GPUS National Committee a proposal that the Alaska party be disaffiliated. The National Committee then voted to disaffiliate the Green Party of Alaska, with 80% of delegates voting in favor.
The Accreditation Committee also fielded a complaint that the Rhode Island GP had failed to seek ballot access or otherwise support the Green Party presidential candidate, Howie Hawkins. Communication with the Rhode Island GP leaders broke down into recrimination and ill-feeling, and the leaders of the Rhode Island GP chose to unilaterally declare that the state party would no longer be affiliated with the GPUS.
The Lavender Caucus of the GPUS filed a complaint with the Accreditation Committee against the Green Party of Georgia, which had officially endorsed a so-called Declaration on Women’s Sex- Based Rights, a document many find to be transphobic and otherwise bigoted against trans-gender people, and had in addition adopted planks into its state party platform that the Lavender Caucus also found to be discriminatory. The Accreditation Committee forwarded a recommendation for disaffiliation to the National Committee, and ultimately Georgia was disaffiliated, although the vote was much closer.
The Green Party of Virginia regrets these divisions, but recognizes that these are serious issues and that division is sometimes a necessary prelude to reformation. Our members have sometimes been affected directly by the controversies involved, but most have chosen to continue to work together with one another in Virginia to pursue our common commitment to the Four Pillars and Ten Key Values of the Green Party.
2020 Electoral Results
2020 was a busy year for Greens across the nation and Virginia was no exception. Between the lawsuit,petitioning to get on the ballot for President, and a public information campaign to raise awareness for a write-in campaign, the GPVA was working hard to ensure some success for the Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins. Despite efforts including informational videos on how to write in Hawkins, and ads placed in media outlets such as Hampton Road’s Veer Magazine, the result was 19,765 (0.4%) total write-in votes with no confirmation of how many for each candidate.
However, what many Greens across the state may not know is that outside of the Hawkins/Walker Presidential campaign were two candidates vying for office in two localities on opposite sides of the Commonwealth.
The first election to be held was in Chesapeake, VA on May 19th where a Mayoral race was underway with 4 candidates vying for the seat in what would become a complicated election season. Among these candidates was Hampton Roads Green Steffanie Aubuchon, placing second on the ballot, in a race that would be one of the first in the nation to maneuver through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through trial and hardship, Steffanie Aubuchon managed to place third with 1,386 votes (4.2% of the vote). This was further underlined by the fact that she got the most votes per dollar invested into the campaign where her opposition spent hundreds of thousands.
In the midst of that campaign was the beginnings of another for Roanoke City Council with a normal November election where a disenfranchised Democrat turned independent, Kiesha Preston, was seeking the endorsement of the GPVA. Kiesha is an activist, advocate, and single mother who wrote and successfully lobbied for the Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam on March 23, 2020. After a tough campaign that brought together Greens, Democratic Socialists, and other community activists Kiesha came 6th out of 8 with 9,953 votes (10.7% of the vote).
GPVA Co-Sponsors Series of Webinars by St. Louis Greens in 2021
Over the course of 2021, the GPVA was one of many organizations to co-sponsor a series of webinars released by the St Louis Green Party. These included “Envisioning a Greener New Deal” on May 5th, “Resisting Israel’s Attacks on Palestine” on August 4th, “Agriculture as a Weapon of Domination” on November 3rd, and “Healing a Broken Agricultural System” on December 1st. GPVA Co-Chairs further gave remarks at some of these webinars with former Co-Chair Ryan Wesdock and Co-Chaire Blaizen Bloom speaking at the May 5th and August 4th webinars respectively.
South Fork Local Reactivated; Seven Locals Currently Active
Under the leadership of GPVA member Andrew Franke, the South Fork local was reactivated at the GPVA business meeting in September, 2021. South Fork joins Arlington, Blue Ridge, Fairfax, Hampton Roads, Lynchburg, and New River Valley as the currently active locals in the Green Party of Virginia. To be considered active, a local must have held a minuted business meeting in the last year with at least three members in attendance. Meetings may be held online.
VA-YES Member Elected for Delegation to Global Young Greens 2022 Virtual Congress
Earlier this month began the Global Young Greens (GYG) 2022 Virtual Congress. This happened to not only be the first virtual convening of GYG, but also the first to occur since the outbreak of the pandemic with the last Congress occurring in 2017 at Liverpool. The Congress began on Friday, January 14th and lasted until Sunday, January 16th with delegates in attendance representing their national Young Greens from across the globe. Among these included the American delegation consisting of three delegates selected by the Young Ecosocialists (the National Youth Caucus). The delegation consisted of Virginia Green Blaizen Bloom, Ohio Green Austin Bashore, and New Jersey & North Carolina Green Matthew Skalar.
Fairvote VA President Elizabeth Olsen addresses Virginia Greens at the September 2021 meeting.
The president of FairVote Virginia, Elizabeth Melson, was the guest speaker at our September 2021 business meeting in Afton. Elizabeth joined us via Zoom, and spoke at length on efforts in Virginia to get Ranked Choice Voting adopted for local and state offices.
Fairvote Virginia was one of the primary advocates helping to get legislation passed in 2020 that now allows town councils and boards of supervisors in Virginia to adopt ranked choice voting for local elections. Fairvote continues to lobby the legislature to bring Ranked Choice Voting to all Virginia elections.
The link to FairVote Virginia volunteer resources is: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ym3xE4lapaNrzDQr2dkH8f6f5B0M3-eS?usp=sharing
GPVA Signs Onto Petition for Palestinian Rights
The Green Party of Virginia joined with more than 40 other state organizations as signatories to a petition addressed to Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and the entire Virginia U.S. Congressional Delegation, demanding that they uphold the rights of the Palestinian people. The letter called out the delegation for failing to oppose the violence inflicted on Gaza in May of 2021, which resulted in over 200 deaths, including 63 children, and for their continued support of massive military aid and weapons sales to Israel despite these atrocities. The petition calls on our state delegation to oppose unconditional aid to Israel and to hold Israel to account for its actions.
Fairfax Green Party Hosts Presentation by Ben Manski
On March 21st, 2021, noted Green and George Mason Professor of Sociology Ben Manski, gave a presentation to the Fairfax Greens (via Zoom) titled “The Green Party - Past and Future.” Professor Manski addressed the question, what should we learn from three decades of Green organizing and how can the Greens make a real difference in "the decisive decade" of the 2020s?
Hampton Roads Greens in the News
Greens in the Hampton Roads area have made quite a splash in the media, appearing for interviews and in news coverage in some local and not so local news outlets. Some of these include an interview of former HRGP Co-Chair Tina Rockett on HearSay with Cathy Lewis, a radio show hosted by local PBS affiliate WHRO. A more recent interview of HRGP Co-Chair Blaizen Bloom was conducted by Andrew Bushard on the Long Live Alternative Parties Podcast.
Greens Attend MVP Violation Vigil
In mid-December, Greens from the Hampton Roads area traveled up to Richmond with members of the Tidewater DSA for the Violation Vigil against the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The event included multiple sessions of verbal recognition of the hundreds of violations that have occurred over the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline threatening the right of clean water in the affected communities.
The Green Party of Virginia is a registered Political Action Committee under Virginia law. All inquiries may be made on our website, vagreenparty.org. Please direct comments or corrections about this newsletter to the General Secretary.