The New York State Green Party will hold its state convention in Ithaca on May 25 at the Autumn Leaves Bookstore on Ithaca Commons, party officials announced last month.
“Ithaca is a real strong base of support for the Green Party,” said Chris Hardin grad, secretary of the Tompkins County Green Party and a member of the state committee that chose Ithaca for the convention.
“Apart from New York City, we have one of the strongest [Green contingencies] in the state. [In Ithaca], Ralph Nader beat George Bush in the last election,” said David Breeden, a local Green Party volunteer.
In fact, the last presidential election was one of the Tompkins County Green Party’s major accomplishments. According to local activist Paul Glover, in the city of Ithaca, 20 percent of the vote went to Nader.
“This county gave a greater percentage of its vote to Nader than any other county in the state. There are strong Green values in Ithaca,” Glover said.
Breeden agreed with Glover and cited Ithacan culture as the impetus behind the county’s support.
“This is a generally progressive community, and the Green Party supports progressive ideals,” he said.
Hardin added that there were some other reasons for the state committee’s decision.
“We try to move the meetings around the state so that there is wider representation. Also, a lot of people said that Ithaca’s pretty and that they wanted to visit,” Hardin said.
Glover also explained that Ithaca’s central location in the state is ideal for the convention.
“There had been some feeling in the Green Party that convention should be somewhere not so far east. Ithaca is not near anything, but it is centrally far from everywhere,” Breeden said.
According to Hardin, the main goal for the convention itself is for the state committee to pick a gubernatorial candidate for the fall primary.
“Afterwards we’re going to have a campaign kick-off and fundraiser,” he said.
Hardin expects that approximately 100 state committee members will attend the convention.
“There will be a lot more people at the fundraiser,” he said.
Hardin, Breeden, and Glover all hope that the convention will drive more local people to become active in the party.
“If you just hold meetings, people get bored. It helps that it’s something we can get people involved in,” Hardin said.
Breeden added that the convention may help the members of Ithaca’s Green Party return to their former glory.
“The 2000 presidential election was a huge push. We’re hoping the state convention is going to be the same sort of push,” he said.
As for the Ithaca Green Party’s future plans, Glover said, “of course we’d like to take over City Hall.”
Archived article by Freda Ready