By Mark Wachtler
September 8, 2015. Carbondale, IL. (ONN) Whether you’re a Green Party supporter from Chicago, or a midstate Green from Springfield, or even from the extreme southern tip of the state down in Carbondale, the Green Party is active in your area. The Illinois Greens failed to get their candidate slate on the state ballot last year and they’re determined to not repeat that disappointment in 2016. The Party is now ratcheting up their efforts statewide.
Members and supporters of the Illinois Green Party.
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Cook County Greens
Over the past month, the Illinois Green Party held a number of local meetings around the state. As an example, the Cook County Greens gathered three weeks ago in west suburban Oak Park to organize their efforts for the remainder of 2015 and the all-important election season next year. In addition to reports from local city Green Party chapters that make up the Cook County Greens, prospective election candidates also made presentations to the group.
‘Do you want to see a stronger Green Party in Illinois? Better candidates who are speaking to your values, your positions on the issues? A government that actually responds to the needs of the people?’ a recent Illinois Green Party announcement asked, ‘Then you need to be a part of the solution! As 2016 starts coming into view, we need your participation to help the Green Party become what you want it to become. Please join with other Greens in your area.’
At the meeting, the Cook County Green Party elected new officers. They include Chair George Milkowski of Skokie, Vice Chairs Julie Samuels and Rita Maniotis, both from Oak Park, Treasurer Suzanne von Leuschner from Brookfield, and Secretary Stephen Perkins of Chicago.
5th and 12th District caucuses
Green Party members from the far north side of Chicago and the northern suburbs gathered two weeks ago for their 5th Congressional District caucus. Thanks to the efforts of 2012 and 2014 Congressional candidate Nancy Wade, the Green Party is already ballot-qualified in the 5th District. Wade ran against incumbent US Rep Mike Quigley (D-IL) both times.
At the same time, Illinois Greens from the downstate 12th Congressional District also held a caucus to hear from prospective 2016 candidates. Like Nancy Wade in the 5th District, the 12th District saw Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw run for Congress in both 2012 and 2014. Thanks to her impressive showing, the Green Party is automatically ballot-qualified in this District as well.
Wanted - candidates and campaign staff
‘The Green Party is needed today more than ever,’ an Illinois Green Party announcement begins, ‘Without the Green Party, the agenda of America’s corporate and financial overlords and the two parties that serve them will continue unchallenged - from the perpetual warfare state to the outrageous attacks on privacy and civil liberties, out-of-control police violence, the systematic attacks on education and the public sector, economic privation, and the ravaging of our natural environment and the Earth’s climate.’
The call to action went on, ‘However, we can only challenge that agenda if we have qualified candidates willing and able to run competitive campaigns for office - as well as campaign managers, fundraisers, treasurers and other volunteers. Now is the time for Greens who have thought about running for office to be consulting with spouses, partners, family and friends - and making the decision to step forward. Now is the time for Greens who know of other good prospective candidates to have conversations with them, and pop the question: “Have you ever thought about joining the Green Party and running as a Green?” Now is the time for people who want to gain experience working on a campaign to step forward and let us know of your interest.’
Governor Rauner and gender discrimination
Illinois Greens have set their sights on newly-elected Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and his blatant gender discrimination in Gubernatorial appointments. While two or three of his high-profile appointees have been women, the vast majority of lesser known Committee members and department heads have been nearly exclusively male. That, Illinois Green Party spokesman Rob Sherman says, is a violation of the state’s Gender Balanced Appointment Act.
A Party statement said, ‘Rauner has nominated 6 men to the Tollway Board, thus creating an all-male 11-person board. He nominated 4 men to the Secure Choice Savings Board, leaving 6 men and 1 woman on that Board. He nominated 7 men and 1 woman to the Finance Authority Board. All 15 members of the Illinois Finance Authority Board are appointed, so between these three Boards and as a result of Rauner's appointments, at the end of July there were a total of 31 male members and 2 female members on the three Boards.’
On the issues
The Illinois Green Party doesn’t stop its advocacy at gender equality. The state GP affiliate is also fighting for other issues as well. Last week, Chicago Greens held a dinner and forum on the far north side of the city to warn residents about the dangers of both fracking in Illinois, as well as the transportation of oil and gas through the state on what activists call ‘bomb trains’. Specifically, they’re referring to, “trains hauling highly flammable crude oil in unsafe tank cars throughout our state.”
Illinois Greens have also officially endorsed the Independent Map Amendment. If adopted, state legislators would no longer have the authority to remap voter districts after each ten-year population census. Often called ‘gerrymandering’, the most recent remap after 2010 exposed Illinois Democrats like House Speaker Madigan and Senate President Cullerton for creating a new voter map that changed the state’s delegation to the US House from a majority Republican to a majority Democrat, overnight.
‘The Independent Map Amendment is a proposal to address the longstanding problem in Illinois of the two corporate parties drawing convoluted, often bizarre, political district boundaries in order to protect their respective incumbents,’ a statement from the Illinois Green Party detailed, ‘In other words, representatives choosing their voters instead of voters choosing their representatives. This also frequently contributes to the problem of ethnic minorities being underrepresented in government. The Amendment would create an 11-member commission representing the demographic and geographic diversity of the state.’
The ILGP announcement went on to say, ‘Although the Democratic and Republican party leaders in the General Assembly would get to select four members on the commission, at least three of the other seven members would have to be unaffiliated with either party…It will take hundreds of thousands of petition signatures to place the Independent Map Amendment on the November 2016 general election ballot. The Illinois Green Party supports the Amendment and we urge you to join the effort to get it on the ballot. The amendment text and a more detailed explanation of the reform are available at www.MapAmendment.org.
For more information on the Illinois Green Party, visit ILGP.org.
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