Sep 062004
Authors: Ryan Riggen

This November voters will have more to choose between than just the candidates in the two major parties.

The historical dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties likely overshadows voters’ familiarity with the Green Party and what it stands for.

Republican Marilyn Musgrave is Colorado’s incumbent for the 4th Congressional District seat and faces Democrat Stan Matsunaka and Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey.

“We don’t field a lot of candidates at that level,” said Hollie Kopp, a member of the Poudre Valley Green Party (PVGP) and co-chair of Bob Kinsey for Congress. “We don’t have the resources the other two parties have.”

According to Eric Fried of the PVGP, the party’s four main values are grassroots democracy, environmental sustainability, social justice and community-based economics.

The PVGP Web site lists six other key values besides the ones Fried emphasized that were ratified at the Green Party Convention in June 2000 in Denver. They are:

* Non-violence

* Decentralization

* Feminism and gender equity

* Respect for diversity

* Personal and global responsibility

* Future focus and sustainability

Fried said the Green Party has been in Colorado for about 12 years and has existed for 15 to 20 years. The party has 10 elected officials throughout Colorado and has seven candidates running for an elected office. It has five members running for county commissioner in five different counties.

“Most of our elected officials are at the city and county level,” Fried said. “Mostly town council, which is a non-partisan position.”

There is currently one Green Party member, Sam Goodtimes, holding a county commissioner seat in San Miguel County, which includes the Telluride area.

“The last number I saw was 550 members of the Green Party in Larimer County,” Fried said. “There are about 10 times that number statewide.”

The Green Party also has a candidate running for U.S. president in the 2004 election. David Cobb, with running mate Pat LaMarche, is holding the Green Party ticket in the run for the presidency.

Many Americans associate Ralph Nader with the Green Party because of his run for presidency in 2000 as the Green Party candidate. Fried said Nader is not a registered Green party candidate and is running as an independent in 2004.

Fried also said Cobb and LaMarche will focus on the swing states in this presidential election, unlike Nader, who concentrates on all the states. Fried said this “Smart State Strategy” is a better plan for the Green Party.

“We need to build from the ground up at the city and local level,” Fried said. “I think we jumped ahead of ourselves a little bit.”

The Green Party is also trying to start a student organization on campus but is finding it difficult to do. The party is unable to do anything formal on campus such as set up booths, because it is not a student organization.

“Right now I’m the faculty adviser,” Kopp said. “But we need four people to get formal status. Right now we have one woman for sure and a few others who have expressed interest.”

According to Michele Haugh, a CSU graduate and a volunteer coordinator for the Green Party, the party now has enough students to start a student organization on campus.

“We will fill out the paperwork and get it going by the end of the week,” Haugh said. “It’s nice that people are interested.”

For those who want to learn more about the Green Party, the next Poudre Valley Greens meeting is Sept. 16 at Woody’s Woodfired Pizza and Watering Hole, 518 W. Laurel Ave. For more information contact Eric Fried at (970) 214-4548.

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