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Green Party gathers in IC

BY ROBERT CROZIER | JULY 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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Green Party faithful from across the country have converged in Iowa City for their annual national meeting this weekend after local Greens submitted the most compelling bid to the political party.

It was also the only bid.

Last year in Baltimore, the party nominated Jill Stein in its failed 2012 bid for the White House.

This year, a political off-season as far as the presidency is concerned, the roughly 100 delegates to the convention plan to conduct some party business, but they will also attend workshops with such titles as “The Racial Equality Lens: An Anti-Oppression Training for White People” and “How to Put On an Event.”

Pending party business includes electing members of the steering committee and discussing the strategic plan.

Media coordinator Scott McLarty said the Greens chose Iowa City because the plan submitted by the Iowa Green Party was the most compelling.

“I think we’re also mindful of the fact that, in this general area, people tend to be kind of progressive …” he said. “As we grow as a national party, we want to become more familiar with Iowa, and we want Iowa to become more familiar with us.”

Iowa Green Party Secretary Holly Hart said the Iowa party had submitted the only bid.

“They wanted to do it somewhere where there was local Green activity,” she said, noting that having the meeting in the city would inspire local Greens to run for office and incorporate more recruiting.
Thursday culminated in a panel discussion featuring, among others, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, and Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City.

Hogg said he came to the Green Party event, which filled about a quarter of the seats in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber, because he was invited.

“I’m willing to talk to any audience any time about the defining historical issue of our time, which is climate change,” he said.

This year’s meeting in Iowa City cost the party around $10,000, McLarty said.

Today and Saturday will feature more workshops and events, most open to the public and most in the IMU.

Stein will speak at a fundraising lunch on Saturday at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.

“We want to emerge as a strong party for the 21st century. We consider ourselves an imperative for the 21st century,” McLarty said, contending that the two dominant parties are “addicted” to corporate money. “We offer things that the Republicans and Democrats don’t.”

UI alumnus and Green Party staffer David Sacks said he supports the party because America needs politics based on good public policy instead of re-election.

“We’re about building a political party where the power isn’t derived from corporate money,” he said. “Democracy needs to be based on individuals.”

Several Green Party members said the party refuses to accept corporate donations.

Mike Feinstein, a former mayor of Santa Monica, Calif., said there are approximately 140 elected Greens in the United States, mostly in city councils, municipal boards, and school boards.

Only a few have been elected mayor.

“The lack of sustainability of our lifestyle as a species has spurred similar reactions from social movements all over the world,” Feinstein said.


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