GPCA 2014 statewide candidate questionnaire - Laura Wells, Controller

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 Controller. I am running as a Green because those are my values and because Green candidates take no corporate money, which means we will walk our talk. I registered Green 21 years ago.
2. What are your key platform issues? What are the most important issues facing California? What solutions do you offer?
A key platform issue for me is implementing a State Bank for California. Public banks represent a paradigm shifting solution. A state-owned bank partners with local banks and credit unions to provide good loans to homeowners, small businesses, and students, and folds the interest back into the State so that we invest in California, not Wall Street. With a state bank we reduce spending by reducing the amount spent in interest on public projects.
Another key platform issue is: Tax The Rich. Taxes have been reduced for decades and the inequality of wealth and power has increased. There are many specific tax proposals that will reduce the disparities, and they include much more progressive income taxes, lower sales tax, closing property tax loopholes, financial transaction tax, and oil severance tax. I believe the disparity has grown so large that we also need to implement a wealth tax, like France, Iceland, India, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Switzerland.
Bottom line is that when the budget is off, it’s all off. When we follow the money, we know the reality that Sacramento is dealing us, in contrast to the rhetoric they put out. The Controller is in the position to follow the money; tell the people the truth about spending and taxes, especially about the results since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978 during Jerry Brown's first governorship; and advocate for the public banking solution.
3. How will your campaign build the Green Party of California? What are your campaign goals?
Even a year ago, my goals were that 1 or 2 Greens would win first or second place in statewide races in the June 2014 Top-Two primary. The incumbent-free Controller race seemed like a good possibility. Although I still believe that this destructive two-party system will crack, and that its unraveling after the crack will proceed fairly rapidly, I have to admit, I thought California would be further along at this point, 5 years after the financial melt-down and 2 years after the Occupy movement raised so much consciousness about the 1% and the 99%.
My primary goal is to raise people’s consciousness about this fact: whatever a candidate says, if they take corporate money during their campaign, they and their corporate-controlled political parties will find ways to champion their corporations, not their voters. My goal is to have more candidates pledge to take no corporate money, and to have voters declare their intention to vote in the primary, and to vote for candidates who take no corporate money.
Californians know me as a Green since I have been a candidate and a spokesperson for the Green Party for years, as well as an editor of Green publications at the county and state level. I have spoken with many groups around the state in person and in the media, and that helps build the party.
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 feel most closely aligned with the parts of the platform that decentralize power and wealth at all levels in the government, private sector, and the party itself.  As to improvements, I respect the people who have volunteered to take on that task.
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?
At this point, I’ve been a statewide candidate 3 times and served as a spokesperson, and I have learned a lot from those experiences. As to assets, I have networked and organized in a number of circles and enjoy reaching out to other groups.
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?
Public Banking Institute, Occupy Education and the new California Student Union, Latin America solidarity activists such as the Task Force on the Americas, Richmond Progressive Alliance, and the new No Corporate Money Campaign.
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?
Yes, #1347800. Yes and yes. Yes,, although is not yet updated and it needs a new host server. I also have a blog at and it is up-to-date.
8. Do believe that an independent party like the Greens can succeed in the US? How would you define such success? How can it happen?
Yes. Success is winning, having Green office-holders who champion the issues and solutions of the 99% and not the 1% and their corporations. Judging from big changes that have happened in other countries, as in Latin America and Iceland, it will be happen from a combination of strong social movements with people taking to the streets; an electoral revolution including candidates running for office and not taking corporate money and former non-voters like the young and the impoverished taking to the voting booths; and local movements building healthy communities.
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?
I will continue to do what I have done, which is to communicate and meet with others as much as possible. As of September 2013, I have already met with people considering runs for Governor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer, and I have recommended and encouraged many people, including Ellen Brown, to run as candidates.
10. Why are you a Green?
I am a Green because of the understanding that it’s all connected. The problems are all interconnected and so are the solutions. And we don’t take corporate money so when elected, we do not align ourselves with the corporate powers-that-be, instead we walk our talk and champion real solutions for real people.