GPCA 2014 statewide candidate questionnaire - Ellen Brown, Treasurer

1. Which position are you seeking Green Party of California (GPCA) endorsement for and why are you running for this position as a Green?

State Treasurer.  I’m running as a Green because the Green platform and values are the best political alternative we have. I support environmental and economic sustainability, electoral democracy, peace, social justice, and sustainable communities.
2. What are your key platform issues? What are the most important issues facing California? What solutions do you offer?
California faces many critical issues, but at the bottom of them all is money. We’ve had to tighten our belts, slash services, and sell off public assets because “we don’t have the money.” But we do. All money is simply credit – negotiable IOUs – and it is created by banks when they make loans. We can generate a huge credit base by forming our own state-owned bank. The Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only publicly-owned state depository bank, has proved the model. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the lowest foreclosure rate, the lowest default rate on loans, and no state debt at all. Between 35 and 40% of the cost of public projects has been calculated to be due to interest. If the state owns the bank, it gets this money back.
Two years ago, a bill for a feasibility study for a state owned bank passed both houses of the California legislature but was not signed by the governor. If I were state treasurer, I would push heavily for such a bank. I’ve written extensively on this issue. See and
3. How will your campaign build the Green Party of California? What are your campaign goals?
I believe public banking is the wave of the future and the most viable way to get out of our current financial and budget woes. Laura Wells has forged the way in publicizing this issue and claiming it for the California Greens. Cynthia McKinney adopted it earlier, and so has Jill Stein. We cannot have a sustainable environment or sustainable communities without a sustainable banking system, one that returns the profits to the people rather than siphoning them off for private gain. My campaign goals are to bring that alternative front and center before the voters.
4. What parts of the GPCA platform do you feel most closely aligned with? What parts do you disagree with, if any? Are there parts you would improve upon and how?
I’m in full agreement with the GPCA platform but would emphasize public banking as the way to achieve its goals.
5. What in your background qualifies you to be a credible candidate? What assets would you bring to your campaign, in addition to those already existing within the Green Party?
I am an attorney, author of 12 books including two on public banking, and president and chair of the Public Banking Institute. I have degrees from UC Berkeley and UCLA Law School. I have written over 200 articles that have been posted on major websites and have done 680 interviews and other speaking engagements since my first book on banking was published in 2007 (all listed here), including radio, internet radio, TV, and over 30 conferences in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. I can relate to the plight of the underdog, having spent 11 years abroad in Kenya, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
6. What are some of the key organizations and/or constituencies that you plan to outreach to and what is your relationship (if any) to them?
I am president and chair of the Public Banking Institute, which has a mailing list of 10,000. I also have 9,000 on my own mailing list, to whom I send articles. In addition, the Public Banking Institute has an affiliate network that includes many organizations.
7. Have you filed as a campaign committee with the California Fair Political Practices Commission and if so, what is your campaign ID#.  Do you have campaign bank account and treasurer? A campaign website?
Not yet.  Who should I contact about that?  I have several active websites:
8. Do you believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen?
It could happen in the event of a major crisis; particularly, another financial crisis. General disgust with both parties could compel the voters to “throw the bums out” and start fresh. If we are ready with something better to offer, they could go for it.
9. The Green Party of California intends to run a unified and coordinated slate of Green candidates for California's statewide constitutional offices. How will you collaborate with other Greens running for other statewide office, including on issues, messaging and organizing?
Laura Wells and I are already collaborating heavily. I’m pretty flexible and will go along with the program of the slate, whatever it is; and on my own issue of public banking, I’ll be campaigning heavily.
10. Why are you a Green?
I agree with the Green Party platform and am impressed particularly with its recent women leaders, Cynthia McKinney, Jill Stein and Laura Wells, who as politicians are refreshingly honest, well-meaning and uncorrupted. In the early 1970s, it was Ralph Nader’s pursuit of law in the public interest that inspired me to go to law school.  I applied to work for him, but he didn’t hire me. However, I had an interesting career and wound up representing some alternative health practitioners, one of whom I wrote a book about, Forbidden Medicine.