The Cobb-LaMarche Campaign: A New Era for the Greens
By Blair Bobier, Cobb-LaMarche Media Coordinator
For the first time in the history of the Green Party, we have a Green Party member as our presidential candidate. On June 26, 2004, hundreds of delegates from across the country at the Green Party's national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, nominated David Cobb as the party's candidate for president. Cobb, a native Texan now living in Eureka, earned the nomination after eight months of rigorous and dedicated grassroots campaigning from coast to coast.
Cobb is no stranger to Green Party activists. A co-founder of the Green Party of Texas, Cobb coordinated Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign in the Lone Star state and later ran for Texas Attorney General in 2002. He has helped the national as well as state and local Green parties grow by serving as an organizer, candidate trainer, lecturer and fundraiser, and as the national party's legal counsel up until declaring his candidacy.
Vice presidential candidate Pat LaMarche is also well known to party activists. A veteran radio broadcaster, nonprofit foundation director and a single mother of two, LaMarche secured ballot access for the Maine Green Party by virtue of her 1998 gubernatorial campaign.
These two homegrown Greens walk the walk and talk the talk of down-to-earth, progressive activists. Cobb's primary focus, outside of the Green Party, is ending the reign of corporations. Cobb has worked with a number of organizations, including Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County, Reclaim Democracy, and the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, to rescind the rights of corporate "personhood" and re-establish community control over corporations. Although Cobb will freely talk about the problems created by George W. Bush and the Democrats who have supported his disastrous administration, he will also tell you that "the real problem is the social, political, and economic system that is literally destroying the planet, driving the engine of empire on behalf of transnational corporations, and creating an unjust, oppressive and unsustainable world with the plunder."
LaMarche's activism is best embodied by the name of the nonprofit organization which she founded and directs: The Do-gooder foundation, which provides healthcare, food and housing options to those with no where else to turn. She also uses her pulpit as one of the most popular broadcasters in Maine to advance causes near and dear to her heart. Under the pseudonym of Genny Judge, which LaMarche borrowed from her late mother, she is known throughout central Maine as an altruist in the truest sense of the word. She has found kidneys for dying children, raised money for poverty-stricken youth, and helped to garner support for relief crews after September 11, 2001.
These two homegrown Greens are leading-or more accurately, participating in-a grassroots campaign designed to present a principled alternative to the politics of war and corruption. Unlike other presidential efforts, our two candidates work as part of a consensus-based national campaign staff which works closely and cooperatively with state and local Green parties.
Anyone familiar with Green political thought knows that our core values of peace, grassroots democracy, social and racial justice and environmental sustainability are related and interdependent. They are not, however, exactly the type of values which lend themselves to seven second sound-bites. Fortunately, Cobb and LaMarche have both had the opportunity to reach millions of voters through numerous-and often extensive-press, television and radio interviews including the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, KPFK-FM, KPFA-FM, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The New York Times, CNN, C-SPAN and hundreds of other outlets. Some of the issues which the campaign highlights are:
- Ending the occupation of Iraq and bringing our troops home as quickly as they can be transported;
- Repealing the "Patriot" Act;
- Ending the racist "war on drugs;"
- Building schools and not prisons;
- Providing single-payer, universal health care;
- Raising the minimum wage to a Living Wage;
- Creating a renewable energy-based economy to address global warming and create sustainable, good-paying jobs;
- Supporting equal rights and same-sex marriage;
- Shifting 50% of the military budget, over a ten year period, to pay for education, social programs and environmental protection;
- Creating democracy in our country through Instant Runoff Voting, open debates, proportional representation, publicly financed campaigns, fair ballot access procedures, free media for candidates, and by ending corporate control of our government and airwaves.
A major focus of the Cobb-LaMarche campaign is growing the Green Party which has gotten bigger, stronger and better organized with each election cycle. Californians may take for granted their ballot access, their elected officials and their vibrant and active locals, but not all states are so fortunate. As such, Cobb and LaMarche have spent considerable time since winning the nomination visiting states which needed to qualify for the ballot-such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Nebraska and Alabama-and working with local candidates from San Francisco to Panama City, Florida.
To bring attention to Green issues which will be largely ignored by the establishment party candidates, Cobb and LaMarche will launch innovative tours this fall. LaMarche will spend two weeks on a "Left Out" tour focusing on those living on the edges of society-the poor, the homeless, the uninsured. As part of the "Left Out" tour, LaMarche will sleep in homeless shelters and outside the vice president's mansion in Washington. Cobb's "Green Tour" will focus on renewable energy, sustainability, support for green businesses and green architecture, among other issues.
California is a critical component of any successful, national Green campaign. By voting Green at the presidential level, and doing so in a big way, the people of California can speak loudly for peace and for immediately ending the occupation of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Californians voting for Cobb-LaMarche cannot be ignored by the pundits and politicians of the establishment parties.
David Cobb and Pat LaMarche need your help and ask for your vote on November 2. To learn more about this historic campaign, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.votecobb.org.
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