Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis

MO Greens file Nader petitions with unified slate of state candidates

- Compost-Dispatch, 26 July 2000 (Gateway Green Alliance)

Progressive activists filed petitions signed by 21,308 registered voters from 100 different Missouri counties with Missouri Secretary of State Bekki Cook on July 24, seeking to place the Green Party, the presidential ticket of Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke, and a slate of 18 other Green Party candidates on the Missouri ballot for the November 7, 2000 general election. The Secretary of State must decide whether the party qualifies by August 22.

The Gateway Greens Alliance produced approximately half of the signatures, mobilizing nearly 100 volunteers. Greens from Kansas City, Central Missouri, the Ozarks and southeast Missouri combined to submit the other half. Dee Barry of Kansas City, Ben Kjelshus of Urich and Roy Hartley of Columbia were the top individual producers. No paid circulators were utilized.

Nader and LaDuke won the national nominations of both the Greens/Green Party USA (GPUSA) and the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). Similar unity in Missouri resulted on July 9, when Greens from across the state met together in Columbia to nominate a unified slate of statewide candidates.

The unity meeting, ably facilitated by Devin Scherubel of the Green Party of Central Missouri, capped a successful Missouri petition drive co-sponsored by St. Louis Greens affiliated with GPUSA, Kansas City Greens affiliated with the ASGP, and unaffiliated Greens in Columbia, Springfield and Rolla. All of these groups are represented on the state ticket.

Nader completed a 4-month grassroots campaign tour through all 50 states on June 23, en route to the ASGP national convention in Denver. St. Louis hosted his Missouri stop on this tour, with a private 100-signature-a-plate reception at the Gateway Green Center on June 22, followed by a rousing address to a standing-room-only crowd at Webster University the following morning. Nader also met with the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

National polls already show Nader running third, behind Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore but comfortably ahead of likely Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan.

Following Nader's lead in shaking the establishment, Missouri Greens united behind a diverse slate of aggressively progressive candidates. With all other Missouri parties fielding only white males for the marquee offices of U. S. Senator, Governor and Attorney-General, respected women and people of color head the state Green Party ticket.

Civil rights leaders Evaline Taylor of Kansas City and Zaki Baruti of University City accepted the Green Party nominations for Senator and Governor, and anti-death-penalty advocate Sr. Mary Ann McGivern of St. Louis is running for Attorney General. Greens also nominated probably the nation's youngest candidate for statewide office, 22-year-old college student Ray Vanlandingham of Springfield, for state treasurer. Veteran environmentalist Ben Kjelshus of Urich is the party's candidate for lieutenant governor, and Paula Elias of Columbia seeks the office of secretary of state. They complement the national ticket of Nader and Native American activist Winona LaDuke.

In addition to Taylor's Senate candidacy, Greens seek to support a Nader presidency in Congress with candidates in six of Missouri's nine districts. Challenging establishment nominees for House seats will be Brenda (Ziah) Reddick of University City (1st District), Mike Odell of Ferguson (2nd District), Mary Maroney of University City (3rd District), Charles Reitz of Kansas City (5th District), Tom Sager of Rolla (8th District) and Devin Scherubel of Columbia (9th District).

In state legislative contests, Mary Auer of Affton takes on two conservative, anti-choice opponents for the state senate (3rd District), and Charles Winters of Kansas City, Patricia Turek and Jason Toon of St. Louis, Peter Coogan of Shrewsbury and Frank Eller, Jr. of Rock Hill vie for state representative.

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