Monday, February 20, 2006

Local Green Party preps for convention

BY HEIDI E. RUCKNO
STAFF WRITER
The Citizens Voice News
02/20/2006

The Pennsylvania Green Party will convene in Wilkes-Barre next week to nominate candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.

Nominations will take place next Sunday at the conclusion of the party’s state convention, which will be held at the Genetti Best Western Hotel and Convention Center, Wilkes-Barre.

It will be the first time in the party’s five-year history that a candidate for U.S. Senate will be nominated.

“I’m really excited and flattered that the Northeast was chosen, because I’m proud of my party and I’m proud of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Wilkes-Barre political activist Carl Romanelli Jr.

The Pennsylvania Green Party has grown to almost 17,000 members, 432 of them in Luzerne County alone, Romanelli said.

Romanelli and Jay Sweeney, chairman of the Wyoming County Green Party, organized the convention, themed “Peace is Patriotic: A Green Party Plan for American Security.”

The event is open to the public, and the goal is to promote the Green Party and its anti-Iraq war platform.

“You don’t really have to be a registered Green to vote for a Green candidate,” said Sweeney. “We’re trying to make people look outside the envelope.”

In 2004, Sweeney ran for state representative in the 111th Legislative District. He received 2,300 votes in a district with 100 registered Greens.

Among the planned highlights will be a speech by Michael Berg, a peace activist whose son, Nicholas, was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq. Berg is a Green Party candidate for U.S. Congress in Delaware.

Also slated to speak at the convention is Malik Rahim, a New Orleans resident. Rahim will discuss his experiences during Hurricane Katrina, the government response and his ongoing struggles with racism.

Other scheduled speakers include Kevin Zeese, the 2004 campaign manager for Ralph Nader and a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, and David Saxton, the Luzerne County Green Party educational coordinator.

In addition to opposing the war, Greens are also fighting for universal health care with the U.S. government as the primary insurer, and the decriminalization of cannabis, Romanelli said.

hruckno@citizensvoice.com

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