(Mt. Pleasant) – The Green Party of Michigan held its nominating convention this past weekend in Mt. Pleasant on the Central Michigan University campus. While the focus of the convention was on the presidential election, nominees were also chosen for state and local offices and support was offered for some ballot initiative petition drives as well.
The convention began on Saturday with informational sessions surrounding those seeking office in Michigan. Potential nominees spoke briefly on their dedication to Green values, what they had to offer their constituency as well as responding to questions from the assembly. Across the board, those who spoke offered support for reproductive rights as well as the institution of gay marriage, questions offered up to all candidates. Nominees continued to offer themselves for consideration on Sunday as well because not all were able to attend the Saturday session. Local caucuses may also be held up to the day of the primary, August 7th , if no one from that county was nominated during the state convention. Support for state and local candidates who announced their desire to run during the convention was unanimous. Michigan nominees are as follows:
Harley Mikkelson: US Senator
Ellis Boal: US Representative/Congressional District 01
William J. Opalicky: US Representative/Congressional District 02
Pat Timmons: US Representative/Congressional District 04
Richard E. Wunsch: US Representative/Congressional District 07
Julia Williams: US Representative/Congressional District 09
Steven Paul Duke: US Representative/Congressional District 11
Douglas Campbell: US Representative/Congressional District 14
David McMahon: State Representative/District 055 (Washtenaw County)
John Longhurst: State Representative/District 106
Candace R. Caveny: statewide/State Board of Education
Dwain Reynolds III: statewide/State Board of Education
Eric Borregard: statewide/University of Michigan Board of Regents
Lloyd Clarke: statewide/Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Margaret Guttshall: statewide/Wayne State University Board of Governors
Latham Redding: statewide/Wayne State University Board of Governors
J. Matthew de Heus: County Commissioner / Bay County – District 7
John Anthony La Pietra: County Clerk & Register of Deeds / Calhoun County
Jennifer La Pietra: County Commissioner / Calhoun County – District 6
Korine Bachleda: Clerk / Newberg Township (Cass County)
Josef Connolly: County Commissioner / Grand Traverse County – District 3
Tom Mair: County Commissioner / Grand Traverse County – District 2
The highlight of the day was a series of three back-to-back SKYPE sessions with Green Party Presidential hopefuls: comedienne Roseanne Barr of California, Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts and Dr. Kent Mesplay also of California. Unlike Presidential candidates from other parties, the three Greens who spoke Saturday offered support and kind words for their competitors.
Roseanne Barr spoke first and focused on the fact that banks and other big business interests seem to own the politicians – and through them, the people. She said she was attracted to the Greens because the party's Ten Key Values put it on the side of defending the people from the class warfare being waged against them. She called for a debt jubilee to forgive student loans and home mortgages.
Jill Stein noted that the Green Party has survived when other people's movements have not, and stressed maintaining and building the Green Party as both a grassroots movement and a political party. She said Greens were ahead of the curve not only on the environment but also on opposing wars, protecting civil rights, women's rights, and many other issues. While winning the Presidency and turning the White House into a Green House would be one kind of win, she added that a real win would be forcing the people's issues into the public discussion.
Kent Mesplay billed himself as the “organically grown” Green Party candidate as he has been a member of the party since 1995. And, having run for the nomination during the last cycle as well, he was the hopeful with the most experience running in what he describes as the near-Orwellian environment of current US politics. He advocated for the concerns of native Americans and community-based approaches to national issues, pointing out that environmental independence could lead to more overall independence.
The Presidential candidates agreed on several issues vital to attendees. The banking industry is corrupt and should be broken down into smaller, community-based institutions. Also a theme was the political system itself, which also revolves around financial gain rather than representing and implementing the will of the people. Responses by all candidates were well-received by the assembly of Michigan Greens.In the party's straw poll, run using Instant Runoff Voting-style ballots, 56% of Michigan Greens made Stein their first preference. 17% listed Barr as their top choice, while 13% preferred favorite-son candidate Harley Mikkelson and 11% chose Mesplay first. A few preferences for other choices were also expressed.
While the vote is not absolutely binding, GPMI co-chair Fred Vitale noted that Michigan Greens have generally given their votes to candidates proportionally in the first round of national-convention balloting. This would translate to 9 of Michigan's 16 delegates voting for Stein, 3 for Barr, and 2 each for Mesplay and Mikkelson.
For more information, please contact:
Michigan Green Party Election Coordinator John A La Pietra at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269)781-9478
Green Party of Michigan Nominates Candidates At All Levels of Government