On Thursday night, the New Haven Green Party hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss party goals and political campaigns for the year.
Six members, including two candidates running for local and national office, attended the meeting. Green Party member Paul Garlinghouse is vying for a New Haven registrar of voters position and Justin Paglino is running for a seat in Congress. The meeting aimed to be an open discussion about what the Green Party could offer New Haven. It highlighted the four pillars of the party –– peace, social justice, ecological wisdom and democracy.
“We are building a New Haven local Green Party and building it from the grassroots up,” Garlinghouse said. “I really think that’s where we have a chance to make a difference. If we have democracy here locally, and officials really responding to us locally, we have the chance to deal with the crises coming down the pipe.”
Patricia Kane, chair of the New Haven Green Party, opened the meeting by posing a question about where the party was headed in 2020. Members discussed the need for another option for voters besides the two camps of Republicans and Democrats.
Kane also allocated time for each candidate to talk about their campaigns. Garlinghouse, who is running for registrar for voters, discussed his goal of forming a committee to field Green Party members to run for political offices in New Haven.
“We as Greens can really present something that’s distinct, something different than the two traditional parties, but something that can really be responsive to the voters,” Garlinghouse said.
Garlinghouse also plans on advocating for ranked-choice voting, which he said was “very important to the Greens’ philosophy.” Although Galinghouse said he can’t directly change the voting procedure if elected into office, he promised to advocate these changes to the secretary of state.
In addition, Garlinghouse said he believes there are flaws in the petitioning process to put a candidate’s name on a voting ballot. He called the process burdensome for both the candidates and the registrars –– as it currently requires candidates to amass 261 signatures before their name appears on the November ballot.
Green Party member Justin Paglino is running for U.S. Congress in the 3rd District. Paglino switched to the Green Party this year after being a lifelong Democrat. Like Garlinghouse, Paglino said he feels strongly about the need for ranked-choice voting in order to avoid “lesser-evil voting.” This is Paglino’s first time running for office.
Some of Paglino’s campaign goals include Medicare for All, clean energy and a “fair economy” through progressive taxing and a federal jobs guarantee.
Kane emphasized hurdles that the Green Party has faced when running for office.
“Two parties have written the rules and control the process, and have basically designed the system to keep everyone else out,” Kane said. “And so when you hear people say, ‘Why hasn’t the green party accomplished more?,’ it’s partly because we didn’t get to make the rules.”
In closing, Kane asked the party as a whole to provide input on issues they wanted to see addressed in the upcoming months. Members highlighted the need for better leadership in local government, advocated support for the Black Lives Matter movement and called for a focus on policies surrounding education.
Kane also reflected on the need for more Greens to run for local political office.
“Many years the alders have no opposition, so these people are elected, and they might not be the best people,” Kane said. “But the point is, democracy requires challengers, it requires a discussion of the issues.”
The next meeting of the New Haven Green Party is set to take place in November.
Alex Ori | firstname.lastname@example.org