Jesse Johnson, Green Party Presidential Candidate met with Democratic Presidential candidate, Mike Gravel in which they agreed that the two major parties block third party voices at the expense of the people and nation and that must change.
Gravel said, “If we want to end the war in Iraq, provide health care to all citizens, educate our young people, we’re going to have to start not only working together with these alternate parties: but literally working to support them. That’s why I’m supporting Jesse Johnson’s campaign for President.”
That support plays as a bonus boost for Johnson, whose recent attainment of the West Virginia ballot line for the Green Party is earning the relatively new Green Party member some clout in the party. Johnson, who plans to do a whistlestop tour through the United States via train, will be meeting up with Gravel for public presentations from time to time throughout the campaign.
Johnson comes from a long line of police officers and grew up as a Republican, but one whose compassion was apparent through his work as an EMT, youth educator and film maker. However, as he witnessed what the Bush Administration’s “Open for Business” policy meant to West Virginia’s Governor Joe Manchin, he rushed into environmental activism. Just a couple of miles from his ancestral home and throughout the mountain region, coal companies began to blast off whole mountaintops with high-grade explosives in a high-speed effort to extract as much coal as quickly as possible. In the wake of these continuing explosions, the air and water has been contaminated and the socio-economic conditions have plummeted. These are the same mountains about which John Denver sang, “ripped up by greed,” said Johnson. He is also concerned that in the process of mountaintop removal, no attempt is made to capitalize on the potential economic benefit of farming the lumber prior to the blows or trapping the natural gasses from within.
Recently, the Greens have seen a number of former Republicans join their ranks. The Green’ strong plank on old-time Republican values such as conservation, fiscal responsibility, decentralization and local control holds interest for those who have lost faith in the Republican Party of today, according to a Green Party Political Director Brent McMillan. “Greens are the most frugal people you’ll ever meet,” he said. “Once people see them in office, they begin to realize that.”
The Green Party has also seen a number of disenchanted Democrats join their party as well, Cynthia McKinney, former Democratic Congresswoman of Georgia, most notably. She is also running for President on the Green Party ticket and has accumulated a lot of support amongst many Greens. Members of the Green Party have tried to recruit her to run for spot for years. She now says, “I’ve come home to the Green Party.”
There are also two Grassroots Green candidates, Kent Mesplay of California and Kat Swift of Texas, also running for the seat of Presidential nominee. While neither has previously held office, their party-building work is notable.