Green Party presidential candidate holds town hall meeting at UMD

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein visited the UMD campus Thursday, Sept. 13, to hold a town hall meeting in Kirby Student Center, where she delivered a message that there are more than just two presidential candidates to vote for this November. Approximately 50 people, including students, faculty and citizens, were in attendance to hear Stein share her positions, and ask questions on a range of topics, from Green Party policy, to campaign strategy.

Stein is the 2012 Green Party nominee seeking the office of the president of the United States. Her name will appear on the ballot in 40 states, including Minnesota, as well as a write-in candidate for five others, which could theoretically give her enough electoral votes to be a contender this November, however it is unlikely she will see enough to take the White House.

Stein spoke and took questions from the crowd From 6 until 8 p.m., and stuck around afterward to talk and take pictures with her supporters until nearly 9 p.m.

Andrew Brooks, visiting professor in UMD’s department of computer science was the man who helped bring Stein to campus. There were no current campus organisations for the Green Party at UMD, so Brooks had to sort through a pile of paperwork, as well as pay a fee to the school, to allow Stein to speak.

“It was a combination of circumstance and wanting to get the Green Party going again, in Duluth,” Brooks said.

Student efforts are underway to bring a Green Party group to UMD. Jim Ivey, Minnesota Green Party campaign organizer, gave an introductory speech where he made sure to express how important a campus organization will be for the future of their party.

“(College students) are getting screwed more than most,” Ivey said in an interview. “It’s important that we have a presence on campus to keep interest for the Green Party. We’re not just looking forward four years, we’re looking 5,000 years. ”

Stein’s campaign is centered on what the Green Party is calling “The Green New Deal.” According to Stein’s website, “The Green New Deal is an emergency four part program of specific solutions for moving America quickly out of crisis into the secure green future.”

The four issues the program addresses are: economic equality, environmental (green) business, financial reform, and election reform.

“We call these solutions a Green ‘New Deal’ because they are inspired by the New Deal programs that helped us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s,” according to their website.

Among the issues Stein discussed was the topic of third-party viability and the spoiler stigma.

“To launch this idea that somehow it’s God-given, it’s an act of nature that there are only two parties, that just turns logic on its head,” said Stein in her speech. “We are a diverse society, we have diverse political opinions, and we deserve a diversity of choices.”

Stein reiterated this point in an interview.

“That fear campaign has basically silenced the voice of the public interest,” said Stein. “To just go along with the lesser of two evils, that doesn’t move you forward.”

By Graham Hakala

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