As someone who joined the Green Party of Delaware in 2003 and who has been committed to helping it grow, I want to put into perspective how much positive development I have seen in GPDE in the last year or so. When I joined there was an entirely different group of party leaders, who are not present now: Vivian Houghton, John Atkeison, J. Roy Cannon, Bob Bohm, Vince Sottile, Roger Horowitz. Some have moved; some have personal lives, which preoccupy them.
After the 2006 Michael Berg campaign, participation in GPDE declined. We did not run a candidate for any office for years. Eventually all locals – three at one point – ceased functioning. For a while, it seemed it was just me being the Treasurer, maintaining the proper paperwork with the State of Delaware, and Mark Perri, maintaining our website. Even the Coordinating Committee ceased to meet.
Then along came the Occupy Movement, signifying a great awakening of anger towards those gutting the middle class for their own profits and a renewal of energy to do something about it. Some Greens, such as Mark Perri and Bernie August, were deeply involved. Numerous others were peripherally involved. Others involved in Occupy Wilmington began to forge closer ties to GPDE, including Jen Wallace, Andy Groff, Kris Lynn and Steve Messick. The connection seemed to become even stronger after Jill Stein, the eventual 2012 presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States, visited the Occupy sites in Dover and Wilmington early in 2012.
By the summer, as Occupy Wilmington decided to break camp, several people sought approval and ran as Green Party candidates – Andy Groff for U.S. Senate, Bernie August for U.S. House, and Mark Perri for Governor. In addition to fielding candidates, GPDE also had to boost its party registration, as the State of Delaware had passed legislation doubling the required number of party members in order for the party to have ballot access. Bernie and Andy did the bulk of the recruiting and we owe them a debt of gratitude for doing it then and continuing to do it again for this year.
During the campaigns, our candidates participated in a number of candidate forums, including ones at the Jewish Community Center of Wilmington, the League of Women Voters in Dover, and debates on WDEL radio. Our candidates were shut out of a televised forum at the University of Delaware. Bernie August and Des Kahn were arrested while attempting to make a short protest at the beginning of it.
In the wake of the elections, GPDE‘s CC again began to meet regularly. With the involvement of Jen Wallace and Kris Lynn, the GPDE now has a new logo, a revamped website as well as a Facebook discussion page, and the ability to take online contributions.
In 2013 Kris Lynn ran for city council in Delaware City. Although she did not win, it was a good learning experience. Also by 2013, GPDE was making it’s presence known whenever an opportunity presented itself, with members walking in parades put on in places such as Dover, Middletown and Wilmington, frequently using the electric cars of GPDE member Pete Sullivan.
GPDE members have become quite active in the Delaware chapter of the Sierra Club. It is highly unlikely that with the GPDE influence present, including employee Stephanie Herron, that the Sierra Club of Delaware would ever again endorse a person like Mike Castle, which it did in 2006.
One very active member of the Sierra Club, also a member of the Green Party, is Amy Roe. In the summer of 2013 Amy challenged the Department of Natural Resources to hold hearings on the safety installations (or lack thereof) at the Delaware City refinery. A band of about sixty environmentalists faced off against the entire refinery workforce as well as dozens of police at a hearing at the Delaware City Fire Hall. Regardless of the outcome, suddenly people concerned about environmental justice were making their voices heard and shaking up the “Delaware Way”.
The events in Delaware City were a mere prelude to the furor raised in Newark when
Amy helped expose the unknown plans to build a power plant on the STAR campus of the University of Delaware. We now know that the Markell administration, U. of DE officials, and union representatives were all in on the collusion, along with the city planner of Newark. Last fall, Amy ran for Mayor of Newark. By all rights she should have won, but a last minute, probably illegal infusion of money, along with the lack of rational voting system such as Instant Run-off Voting, kept her from being elected. Nevertheless, the No Newark Power Plant organization, led, to a large extent, by Jen Wallace and Amy Roe, is presenting a strong challenge to the status quo. More Newark citizens have woken up to the machinations of the powers-that-be and are fighting back.
Now we are approaching another election cycle. With the issues on which Greens have helped to lead in this state, GPDE stands to make an even stronger showing as a viable party with credible candidates. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t see this coming five years ago. Green and Growing!
– Dave McCorqudaleCoordinating Committee, Green Party of Delaware