Sunflower Seed E-Newsletter January 2017

Welcome to the January 2017 issue of the Sunflower Seed! In this issue you will find all of the announced 2017 Green endorsement seeking candidates, meet new staff, and see how Green officeholders around the world are resisting Trump! Enjoy!

We need YOU to become a sustaining donor!

We need your help to maintain our office administrator through the year and beyond! If just 40 people on this email donated $10 a month we would meet our goal!

Sign up here: Become a Sustaining Donor!


Upcoming Events:

Saturday, February 18th

Meet Minneapolis Green Candidates
Peace Coffee
3262 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Saturday, February 25th

Minneapolis Candidate Endorsing/Membership Meeting
Northeast Library
2200 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Wednesday, March 1st

Olmstead County Green Seedling Meeting
People's Food Co-Op
5119 1st Ave SW
Rochester, MN 55902

Sunday, March 5th

4th Congressional Green Party Membership Meeting
Rondo Library
461 Dale Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55103

Tuesday, March 7th

Itasca Green Party Membership Meeting
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Central Square Community Meeting Room
201 NW 4th St, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Saturday, March 11th

GPMN Coordinating Committee Meeting
10am - 1pm
4200 Cedar Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Green Party of Minnesota hires administrator

betsy.jpgFor the first time in a decade, the Green Party has hired an administrator to manage the party’s day-to-day organizational needs.

Betsy Barnum, who has served as a volunteer for more than 20 years in roles ranging from treasurer for state legislator and city council campaigns to Coordinating Committee member and state party chair, is now in a paid role designed to provide continuity in administrative functions such as holding regular office hours, answering member inquiries, preparing agendas, planning membership meetings, and keeping track of important documents.

The support she provides frees up coordinating committee members and volunteers to attend rallies representing the Green Party, travel around the state to start and support new locals, work on the newsletter and other communications, and meet with potential candidates to grow the party.

“As more people come to the Green Party to ask questions, to join us, to donate and to volunteer, this is a crucial time for us to be able to respond quickly and engage new Greens in the party,” said state party chair Brandon Long. “Having a person who is looking after the day-to-day functioning of the organization and keeping track of all the new people signing up is an important way for us to be responsive to this moment of opportunity to help our candidates with campaign volunteers and expand our ability to challenge the two-party system.”

Barnum is looking forward to helping establish the Green Party as a grounded institution that can work effectively in both the electoral and the social movement arenas.

“I’ve seen the importance over many years and from many perspectives of basic infrastructure and continuity for the party to be the best it can be,” she said. “Administrative support is a seemingly ordinary but actually essential condition for being able to respond flexibly to everything from people coming to us who want to run for office, to requests for support from social movements, to conflicts and challenges both within the party and outside it. I am honored and privileged to provide this service to the Green Party of Minnesota, my political home and passion from the moment I first heard of it.”

Currently Betsy is working a limited number of hours and the Party will need to increase its sustaining donors to pay her until the end of the year and beyond.

If just 40 people on this email donated $10 a month (or increased their current monthly donation by $10) we could pay Betsy through the end of the year and beyond! Donate now!

Saint Paul Mayoral Candidate Elizabeth Dickinson seeks Green endorsement

ElizabethDickinson.jpgElizabeth Dickinson was the Green Party mayoral candidate in 2005 against Chris Coleman and then-incumbent Randy Kelly. With only a two week campaign, Dickinson came in third in the primary election but won an impressive 19 percent of the vote against the two DFLers.

Since then, the West Side resident has pursued much of her political activism through Clean Water Action and Community Power, organizations that push for environmental protections.

In her campaign announcement Elizabeth listed living wages, addressing homelessness, promoting energy sustainability and independence, enhancing community/police relations, and expanding multi-modal transportation as some of her top priorities.

You can follow Elizabeth on Facebook here and on Twitter @MayorDickinson.

The Green Party 4th Congressional District endorsing meeting will be April 2nd at the Rondo Library starting at 1:15pm.

Minneapolis candidates seek Green endorsement

Five candidates have announced their intention to seek the Green endorsement for the November 2017 elections as of this date. Three are for Minneapolis City Council, one for Mayor, and another for Park and Recreation Board Commissioner. 

charlesexner.jpgCharles Exner is seeking the Green endorsement in his run for Park and Recreation Board Commissioner for District 3 on the east and south side of Minneapolis. Charles wants to bring to the Park Board a renter’s perspective, which he feels is underrepresented on the board. He is also concerned about bringing more ecological consciousness to the park system, and hopes to improve the overall health of the park ecosystem. His platform and concerns can be found here.

sampree.jpgSamantha Lee Pree-Stinson is running for Ward number 3 in the Minneapolis City Council. Pree-Stinson is a married mother of three and a veteran of the US Army, who has spent 14 months in Afghanistan. Pree-Stinson hopes to bring the community-building and cooperation skills that she learned during her years as an Army medic to the Minneapolis City Council.  She states that during her years in the service she learned to work with a diverse population of people, and that her experiences with people from varying backgrounds would be an asset to this position. When asked if she had any advice for voters, she says “follow your heart!”. Her announcement to seek the Green endorsement can be viewed here.  

Additional information can be found on Pree-Stinson’s blog page at and you can follow her on Facebook here.

ginger.jpgSocialist Alternatives Ginger Jentzen is also seeking a dual endorsement with the Greens in the Ward 3 Minneapolis City Council race.

From Jentzen: "I am running for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 3 as a member of Socialist Alternative. I'm basing my campaign in building social movements and independent political power. I'm seeking the endorsement of organizations which share these goals, including the Minnesota chapter of the #GreenParty, with its long history of highlighting independent politics.”

You can read more about Ginger here and here.

camgordon.jpgCam Gordon, City Council Member for Ward 2 is seeking reelection!  Among Cam’s latest initiatives is a proposal for better banking options –

In response to growing questions and concerns about who the City contracts with for financial services, Council Member Cano and I moved, and the Council approved, to have Finance staff explore alternatives that would allow us to stop doing business with financial institutions that invest in the fossil fuel industry and projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and the possibility of establishing a municipal bank or participating in a publicly-owned banking operation (like a credit union). Staff has been instructed to report recommendations to the Ways and Means Committee by July.  I am currently researching this.  If you would like to learn more about public banking options for cities, you might want to read this,” Cam said.

If you’d like know more about Cam Gordon, and his valuable community service contributions in public office since 2005, you can find out more here and follow him on Twitter @CameronAGordon and on Facebook here.

dougmann.jpgDoug Mann is a candidate for Mayor of Minneapolis, and will seek Green Party endorsement.  Mann has run for office many times, most recently for Minneapolis School Board in 2016.

All five candidates will be participating in a meet and greet that is open for the public on Saturday, February 18th, from 9 am-11 am at Peace Coffee Shop-Wonderland Park. The address is 3262 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406 if you’d like to meet the candidates and show them some support! More info here and invite your friends on Facebook here!

The Minneapolis-5th District Green Party will hold two endorsing meetings to consider these candidates, both at Northeast Library, 2200 NE Central Ave.

The three City Council candidates will be considered on Saturday, Feb. 25, 9:30 am-1 pm, and the Park Board and Mayoral candidates will be considered on Saturday, March 4th, 9:30 am-12:30 pm. Both meetings will include strategic planning discussions in addition to endorsements.

2016 Minnesota Green electeds inaugurated!

LenaBuggsElected.jpgCongratulations to Lena Buggs, Ramsey County Conservation District 4 Supervisor, who was sworn in January 9th as the first elected Green in Ramsey County history! Watch her swearing in here!

Congratulations as well to Green Soil and Water Commissioners Steve Laitinen and Sharon LeMay, Anoka County Conservation District 5 on their inauguration January 17th!

You can follow Lena Buggs on Facebook here and Twitter @Lena4SWCD and Sharon Lemay on Facebook here.

Cam Gordon refutes argument against $15 minimum wage

CamSpeakingNOC.jpgGreen Minneapolis City Councilmember Cam Gordon publicly refuted the claims in Twin Cities Business Magazine that a minimum wage of $15 an hour and other worker-friendly policy changes are harmful to the business climate in the city.

Adam Platt and Burt Gilyard argue in their article that city councilmembers like Gordon who want to improve the economic situation of the city’s workers have no experience with small business or meeting payroll, and don’t understand the hardship that these policies are causing for business. Citing his own experience as a small business owner for eight years, which was ignored by these writers, Gordon suggests that this narrative is simply not true.

“Perhaps there’s another, better narrative,” he writes. “It goes something like this: there are some on the Council who strongly support creating a local economy that works for everyone. That means creating an environment that grows thriving, healthy small businesses, and it also means addressing the reality that the poorest workers in our city, many of them workers of color, are not doing well.”

Gordon and others who favor these policies, however, do have hard evidence from Seattle, which passed a $15 minimum wage ordinance in 2014. This report on NPR examines the results after one year as does this Forbes Magazine published this article last month. Both say that the increase in worker pay has not had a negative impact on employment or on business success; rather, some businesses have had increased revenue because more people have money to spend.

Gordon proposes that business success and humane worker policies should not be seen as mutually exclusive, but that a healthy city economy needs both.

“I think that by building a city that works well for everyone, in which every worker is paid a living wage, we will see more success for businesses of all kinds. More people with more money to spend is good for business,” he writes.

Greens around the world say no to Trump

gpengland.jpgGreens around the world have joined protests against the policies of Donald Trump, in particular the recent travel ban on citizens from six countries that the US has bombed in recent years, and one it would like to bomb (Iran). Green officeholders in EnglandGermanyIreland, and Australia have proposed banning Trump from traveling to their nations as a response. It is particularly galling to German Greens as it blocks German-Iranian Green Omid Nouripour, a member of the national parliament and German-American liaison.

gpmnNOtrump.jpgHaving been consistently against American and allied imperialism, racism, sexism, and bigotry since their establishment, Greens everywhere have welcomed the surge of opposition brought about by the replacement of the American imperial figurehead with a less charismatic person.

Rhoda Gilman a Green Party activist/founder and historian of Minnesota protest movements who participated in the Women’s March in Minnesota, said she's optimistic the anti-Trump effort will have staying power.

"I think Donald Trump did a lot to wake up the younger generation of women who have known relatively little discrimination, or at least not much blatant discrimination in their lifetime, less than their mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers did," said Gilman.

Green elected twice, Van der Bellen wins Austrian presidency... Again.

alexvanderbellen.jpgAlexander Van der Bellen narrowly won the May election for the Austrian Presidency over Freedom Party candidate Norbert Höfer. A week before he was to take office in July, a judge who had been a Freedom Party cabinet minister overturned the election on a minor procedural issue involving the timeline for reporting election results, which had never been used as grounds for complaint earlier, much less to overturn an election.

The second round of the second-round elections (as no candidate had won a majority in the first round of the first round) was held in December. Despite the cold, turnout increased, along with the margin of Van der Bellen's victory. He captured 53.8% of the vote, compared with 50.3% in May, and was sworn in to office this January.

Congratulations, again, to Herr Van der Bellen, in becoming the first elected Green head of state in Europe, and to the Austrian Green Party for persevering in a long election campaign. This highlights the importance of electoral integrity for parties everywhere that challenge the establishment, which may suddenly decide to take an interest in its own rule breaking to overturn unacceptable results.

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