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MI Green party Picks Presidential Delegates

Michigan Greens Apportion, Elect Convention Delegates Unanimously

McKinney Wins 13 of 19 Statewide Votes for 1st Ballot at GPUS Convention July 10-13 in Chicago;
3 for Nader; 1 Each for Mesplay, Swift, Uncommitted; Locals Will Pick, Instruct 5 More Delegates

Party Starting Drives to Boost Membership,Recruit Record Number of Candidates; Will Post “Announced” Candidates List Online by May 13 to Help Groups Considering Endorsements

Other Michigan political parties may be having problems allocating and seating national-convention delegates. But not the Greens. At a statewide meeting Saturday in Romulus, the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) unanimously agreed on ten men and nine women to serve as delegates to the GPUS Presidential nominating convention July 10-13 in Chicago.

Also, GPMI Elections Co-ordinator John Anthony La Pietra announced the results of a statewide membership poll taken to bind those state-selected delegates’ votes on the first ballot in Chicago.

  • Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney got 64% of the first-place votes in the poll, earning 13 delegates.
  • Consumer advocate Ralph Nader — the 1996 and 2000 Green Presidential candidate, but running as an independent this year as he did in 2004 — finished second with 17% of the vote and three delegates.
  • Kent Mesplay of California and Kat Swift of Texas each also earned one delegate;
  • one vote in the delegation will go to the convention uncommitted.

The poll also invited members to list their preferences beyond a first choice. La Pietra reported detailed alternative results (counted using instant-runoff voting and approval voting) which delegates may use to help make up their minds on how to vote in any later ballot.

Five GPMI locals — Detroit Greens, Flint Greens, Huron Valley Greens, Traverse Bay Watershed Greens, and Van Buren County Greens — qualified to select and bind one delegate each. The State Central Committee will fill any vacancies and find alternates.

But 2008 is not only a Presidential election year. Other candidates and issues were also hot topics of discussion Saturday.

GPMI’s share of the ambitious national goal of 1,000 Green candidates in 2008 is 67. “That’s half again as many as we’ve ever had before,” notes La Pietra. “But we’re about a third of the way there already.” And, along with a membership drive, the party will reach out to more potential candidates using free, on-line, and alternative media and invitations to groups GPMI partners with on issues.

One new effort is an official list of candidates who have taken specific steps to show they are serious about running for a place in the Green column on the November 4 ballot. GPMI will post a list of these candidates on its Web site www.MIGreens.org
by May 13.

Some groups that endorse candidates schedule their process around that date — the deadline for Democrats and Republicans to file for the August 5 primary. But candidates of Greens and other parties can’t get on a primary ballot, so they may not get equivalent official status until after the primary. GPMI hopes its list will give endorsing groups and voters more timely notice of Green candidates.

A breakout session in Romulus discussed ways to help Green candidates co-ordinate statewide. GPMI is focused on five campaign themes: ending the Iraq War, universal health care, the global environment, the economy, and the energy crunch. Members reported on policy ideas and actions ranging from helping “re-house” unfairly evicted families to a Truth Commission on affordable water for people versus profitization of water systems in the Detroit area and to fighting sulfide mining in the UP.

The meeting unanimously reaffirmed GPMI’s support for the “Compassionate Care” medical-marijuana proposal on the November ballot. Greens also welcome the discussion of universal health care that would surround another proposed ballot issue, but have some doubt that the current proposal goes far enough in providing health care to people instead of subsidies to health-insurance corporations.

GPMI is looking at one more statewide meeting before the GPUS nominating convention, possibly in the Lansing area in mid-June. And Michigan Greens in Chicago may invite the newly-nominated Presidential ticket to “follow them home” to GPMI’s own nominating convention the following weekend, July 19-20. Such a campaign visit might tie in with planned rallies in Benton Harbor five years after Governor Granholm’s visit to that city, and her unkept promises to help its people, after riots sparked by the Terrance Shurn incident.

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