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Green Party to laid off workers: “Consider Running for Office”

KW writes: Oh…my…goodness…this is the best political strategy I have seen in ages. Must be duplicated often. Identify the problem; find the people oppressed by it; recruit them to run for office to solve their own problem. It’s the ultimate community organizing for electoral activists. Egads! It’s brilliant! Thank you Illinois Green Party. Watch out, Governor Quinn.

From an Illinois Green Party press release:

Saturday, September 5, 2009
Patrick Kelly, Media Coordinator, Illinois Green Party
media at ilgp dot org

Green Party to laid off workers: “Consider Running for Office”

In light of reports that AFSCME union workers’ jobs hang in the balance under Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to cut state spending, the Illinois Green Party offers this suggestion to those who do get laid off: If and when that pink slip comes, don’t despair — consider a run for public office.

“These are the workers on the front lines, the ones doing the work that keeps our state moving,” said Charlie Howe, Green Party candidate for state representative (115th district).  “The governor and legislators are simply not competently managing our state’s finances. As a result, valuable services many of our citizens depend on are in
jeopardy of disappearing. We need to challenge these elected officials at every turn.”

While Quinn and the union are at odds about the extent of pay cuts and layoffs, the governor has made it clear that layoffs will occur over the next year and a half. Earlier this year, Quinn had pushed for an income tax increase to balance the states budget, but the plan didn’t have much support in the state legislature, and Quinn eventually
conceded to a partial-year budget pushed by many in the legislature, leaving the future for state workers very uncertain.

Next year, every statewide office and state representative office will be up for election, along with several senate seats. Petitioning is going on now, and there is still plenty of time to collect the signatures needed to be placed on the ballot.

“It doesn’t matter if your legislator is a friendly person, or has held the job for a long time. That doesn’t mean they’re doing a good job,” said A.J. Segneri, Green Party membership steward and head of the party’s 2010 recruiting effort. “Every legislator deserves to have their record scrutinized by voters and the media, but that won’t happen if there is no opposition. Without ordinary citizens on the ballot, many state representatives and senators just might go unopposed, and there will continue to be this widespread lack of accountability.”

In addition to the petitioning period going on now, which ends Nov. 2, there is a second opportunity for potential candidates to be placed on the ballot following the primary in a process called slating. However
pending legislation, House Bill 723, which the Green Party has strongly opposed, may make slating much more difficult.

According to a report by the Illinois Green Party Chair, exactly half of all state legislative seats went unopposed in 2008, and House Bill 723, if enacted will only further limit competition. The report was submitted to the governor’s office, but Quinn praised the legislation and made only a non-controversial amendment to it.

“This legislature has passed inadequate spending bills and reckless sales tax hikes, not to mention a major expansion of gambling and privatization deals, and shamefully ignored the plight of working families across the state,” said Jeremy Karpen, Green Party candidate for state representative (39th district). “And while they were sticking it to rank-and-file workers, these same legislators were taking great pains to ensure their own job security.”

The Illinois Green Party is one of the state’s three “established” political parties, enjoying lower ballot access requirements than independents and new political parties. The Green Party stands for 10 Key Values: Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Nonviolence, Decentralization, Community-Based Economics, Feminism, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Future Focus.

STATE LEGISLATIVE OFFICES UP FOR ELECTION

State Senate Districts (1000 signatures required): 1, 4, 7, 10, 13,
16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 43, 46, 49, 51, 52, 55, 58

State Representative Districts (500 signatures required): all 118 districts

Petitions must be filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections by
Nov. 2, 2009

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Illinois State Board of Elections
www.elections.state.il.us

Illinois Green Party
www.ilgp.org

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