Green Party Welcomes Jill Stein Back to Mass.

By Rachel Dushey
BU News Service 

CAMBRIDGE — After campaigning across the U.S., Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein has returned home to the Commonwealth, where Green movement efforts continue in many local communities, including Cambridge.

“I’ve been living out of a suitcase for seven months,” said Stein, who lives in Lexington but has ties to Cambridge. “I’ve only had about a couple of days home. It feels so great to be back home with my husband and back in my community.”

Stein spoke with her running mate, Cheri Honkala, at the Green Party State Convention in Worcester on Saturday.

“At this point, my concern is mainly to harvest the momentum coming out of the campaign and that momentum is going to grow,” she said prior to the convention.

Stein is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and was involved with the Green-Rainbow party for 10 years before being nominated as the Green party presidential candidate.

“We’ve always had strong participation from Cambridge,” said Isabel Espinal, director of communications of the Green-Rainbow party of Massachusetts. Espinal mentioned the presence of Green groups and voters at colleges such as Harvard, MIT and Lesley, as well as at many local high schools.

Two percent of Cambridge ballots were cast for Stein, while she received 0.3 percent across the state. The city with the highest percentage of Green voters in Massachusetts was Wendell, with 8 percent backing the party.

Wes Nickerson, a Cambridge resident and Green party campaign volunteer, said he planned to attend the state convention. He also attended the Greater Boston Chapter meeting that took place last Tuesday in Back Bay.

“I became re-involved with the Green party since Jill Stein began running for president,” said Nickerson, who said he saw Stein speak in front of the State House in Boston in October and has since been volunteering and attending local meetings.

“I think there was a lot of renewed interest in the Jill Stein campaign,” he said. “We are talking about meeting locally in Cambridge and building community strength.”

Nickerson was one of 200 volunteers, according to Stein, at the convention.

Green Rainbow party co-chair Anthony Barrows said a reason for the timing of the convention, just a little over a week after the presidential election, was to keep “activists and volunteers engaged in the hard work of party-building.”

Harvard Ph.D. recipient and professor of American politics at Boston University Andrew Reeves said that despite the efforts, third parties are generally unsuccessful in Massachusetts due to structural problems.

“For instance, in 1992, Ross Perot got 19 percent of the popular vote and 0 percent of the electoral college vote,” he said.

He also said that the legalization of medical marijuana in Massachusetts and support for other issues on the Green platform such as same-sex marriage will not necessarily work to the Green party advantage because “their issue gets subsumed by the two major parties and they have less of a foothold from which to woo voters.”

However, Stein remains hopeful.

“Our vote count tripled even in the face of a $6 billion buyout by corporate America,” she said. “This is the point where we break it down into our communities to discuss the issues that are begging to be heard.”

Though she did not make it clear whether she plans to run for president again, Stein said, “We’re beginning to talk right now about who’s beginning to run for office and who we can support. People are starting to organize right now for city and town elections this spring.”

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