Dr. Jill Stein laid out her vision for turning the White House green to a group of about 30 people in Albany on Saturday night.
The 62-year-old Harvard-educated medical doctor, who lives in Massachusetts, is the Green Party nominee for president. Speaking at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Albany, she predicts her campaign will ride the wave of change sweeping the country. Her key argument was that a vote for the two major party candidates, President Barack Obama and former-Gov. Mitt Romney, is a vote for failed policies.
As part of her big vision to turn the country around, Stein advocated for a Green New Deal, which would use a federal investment of hundreds of billions of dollars to put people back to work and develop renewable clean energy. The program would not revolve around tax breaks, as she argued those don’t create jobs, and would instead consist of grants to local communities that understand how money should be spent.
“It pays for itself by jump-starting the economy,” she said.
Stein is one of six presidential candidates that will appear on the ballot in New York and her name will be on the ballot in about 40 states and the District of Columbia.
She acknowledged that her candidacy is a long shot, but contended that a vote for her helps forward the ideas of the movement.
At the same time, she emphasized the possibility for her victory, seizing on the warm reception her candidacy has received from various Occupy movements and organized labor. Her party also qualified for matching contributions from the federal government.
She said 90 million people don’t intend to vote in this election, which signaled to her that there is a desire for an outside option.
Stein has been actively traveling around and spreading her message, but she won’t be able to appear in any of the debates, as the Commission on Presidential Debates sets rigourous standards that are designed to only let in the Democratic and Republican candidates. She did have a gubernatorial debate against Romney in 2002.
The crowd in Albany included a lot of like-minded people, such as former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and members of the Occupy Albany movement.
There were murmurs of support as she criticized Wall Street greed, linked Obama’s policies with the failed positions of his predecessors and warned of threats to the country’s social safety net.
She added that Romney and Obama will both cut Medicare benefits.
Her lecture included plans to expand Medicare for universal health care coverage, free higher education, a ban on hydrofracking, hiring of more teachers, an end to the country’s “tough guy” foreign policy and new taxes on the investment industry, which she demonized repeatedly.
The Green Party vice presidential candidate is Cheri Honkala. Stein won the Green Party nomination this summer in a nominating convention.