The Dutchess Greens

What is the History of the Dutchess Greens?

The Green Party obtained ballot access in New York State in the 1998 elections. A Local chapter of the New York State Greens was started in Dutchess County in August 1999.
Since then, The Dutchess Greens have been busy establishing a grassroots, progressive movement in the Mid-Hudson area. For the November 1999 elections, the Dutchess Greens ran three candidates and cross endorsed two. The Dutchess Greens ran two candidates in the 2001 elections and cross endorsed four.
The Dutchess Greens have worked on many different issues since these local elections, including PCB cleanup, genetically modified foods, campaign finance reform, the WTO demonstration in DC, and more recently a number of antiwar protests.
Since 2000 the number of Greens registered in Dutchess County has increased from less than 100 to over 800 people.

In 2003 local Democrats and Greens got together to form the Dutchess Peace Coalition. The coalition works closely with the Dutchess Greens on peace and justice events.

What Challenges Are Facing the Dutchess Greens?

Since Nader's run in 2000, the Green Party has been under a lot of media attack, especially in the liberal press. The party was blamed for single handedly defeating Gore. Attacking Nader and the Greens did nothing to change the Democratic Party, and they went on to lose again in 2004.
In the last gubernatorial election, the NY State Green Party did not get 50,000 votes, losing the party's ballot line. State residents can still register as Greens, but they have to write in the party name on their voter registration forms. In addition, Green candidates must now collect a large number of signatures to run.
The 2004 presidential election saw two Green candidates. Cobb was nominated at the Green Party Convention. But many Greens remained faithful to Nader and collected signatures for him to run in New York on the Peace and Justice line. Cobb did not get enough signatures to run at all.

What About the Working Families, the Liberal and the Marijuana Reform Parties?

The WFP does supports progressive candidates in Democratic primaries, but their funding is a problem. They have lots of money for full time workers, for mailings, etc., as long as they always funnel votes to Democratic candidates in the general election. The WFP keeps progressives, union members and left leaning minority voters busy while not endangering the two party system.
The Liberal Party has long ago given up any pretense of progressive politics and tries to support winning candidates so they can get patronage jobs. The Marijuana Reform Party advocates most of the reforms that the Green Party does. There may be a way in the future for some of these parties to merge with the Greens so as not to fragment the progressive vote.