Local Political Update: Part 3, Green Rainbow Party

On behalf of the Acton Forum, I contacted four political committees/independent candidates and asked them to provide information on three topics, so our readers could learn more and possibly get involved prior to the upcoming election.

Explain the topics you discussed at your most recent meeting.

How do people get involved and what do you need volunteers to do in the near future?

Have you endorsed any candidates and why?

The Assabet River Valley Chapter of the Green-Rainbow Party meets monthly (on the third Tuesday of the month) at the Acton Memorial Library. We are one of seven Green-Rainbow Chapters in Massachusetts. The Green-Rainbow Party was formed in 2002 by the merger of the Massachusetts Green Party and the Massachusetts Rainbow Coalition Party and we are the Massachusetts affiliate of the Green Party of the United States, active in all 50 states and US territories and the only national political party that takes no corporate campaign contributions. Further, the Green Party which exists in more than 90 countries is in fact the only worldwide political party. The Green Party is grounded in the philosophy of people, planet and peace over profit.

The goal of our local chapter (and this is what consists of most of our activity at meetings) is to run and elect candidates to office, with a focus on electing candidates from Acton, Concord and the region to municipal and statewide office, while also supporting candidates from other regions and offices such as our presidential candidate every 4 years. Throughout the US we have we have 168 current elected officials mostly holding municipal and county offices, Nationally, we have elected more than half a dozen Green Party members to state legislatures. In Massachusetts we currently have 14 members holding municipal office, 9 of them elected and 5 appointed. In our region, our one elected member is Edward Larner elected to the Concord Housing Authority and our appointed member is Danny Factor, Access Coordinator for the Acton Commission on Disabilities. Our chapter also is a force for community activism in our region and networking with local environmental and social justice organizations.

As the Green-Rainbow Party is a values based party, we seek candidates to run for offices that support our four pillars. They are:

1)Peace - Our country's long wars and worldwide military presence are immoral and unsustainable. Our military budget must be cut dramatically.

2)Ecology- The human cost of climate change is too high. We need a bold transition to renewable energy and must protect our biodiversity, water and other natural resources.

3)Social Justice- We have a responsibility to protect the vulnerable, embrace diversity and recognize that every person deserves dignity, respect and love.

4)Democracy- To give everyone a voice we call for publicly financed elections, open debates, a multi-party political system, defending voting rights, transparency of government, and the de-corporatization of our political system.

Our last chapter meeting regarded supporting our two endorsed local candidates, Danny Factor for State Representative (14th Middlesex District) and Terra Friedrichs for State Senate (Middlesex and Worcester District), and also a report from our two office holders on the Acton Commission on Disabilities and Concord Housing Authority. We also spend time at our meetings on activism, and discussing and planning action items to confront challenges in our region that relate to our four pillars. These include confronting environmental challenges in our region such as rampant unplanned growth and toxins in our air and water, combating income inequality in our region, and making sure that everyone in our region from immigrants--documented and undocumented, people of color LGBT individuals, prisoners, and other marginalized people and groups are made to be and feel part of our community. We have had guest speakers speak before our group and also share the large amount of expertise amongst our members. Our meetings are engaging and often both serious and fun at the same time. Many people leave our meetings finding them thought provoking and inspiring.

It is through our activism in the region, engaging in standouts, protests, petitioning, speaking out, participating and leading town events, and networking with groups that share our values that we have a goal to increase the number of Green-Rainbow Party appointed and elected officials in our region towards creating an Acton and region which is sustainable for all people, including our children and grandchildren.

The way we seek to get people involved is by inviting them to our chapter meetings-- which are open to the public and welcoming-- and getting to know our members. We are looking for local residents that align with our key values and wish to either learn more about the Green Party and/or put their values to action. Specifically, we are looking for individuals who are interested in running for office, being appointed to town committees, managing political campaigns, doing field work, engaging in our communications arm, speaking out in town forums, networking with other groups, and taking part in direct actions throughout our region. We believe that everyone in a community has an ability and a role to contribute. As a "bottom-up" grassroots organization we believe that our strength comes from our rank and file. Rather than tell people what we need, our philosophy is to ask our members what they think they can contribute to our goals of creating a more sustainable and just society, and support them. We invite all who are interested in learning more about the Green-Rainbow Party to go to the Green-Rainbow Party website at green-rainbow.org, the Green Party Website at GP, or call or email co-chair Barbara Clancy (bclancy122@earthlink.net/ 978-760-4123)

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