NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein visited New Brunswick on the weekend of August 15-16 to talk to concerned residents about her presidential platform and about the Green Party in general.
Stein is a medical doctor from Massachusetts who says she now practices "political medicine" because modern-day politics is the most serious illness affecting everyday Americans. She has previously run for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, and made her first Presidential run in 2012.
Stein made two public appearances in New Brunswick, and both events saw crowds of about 30-40 people.
So far, she is the only 2016 Presidential candidate to make a public appearance in New Brunswick. It marked her second trip to the Hub City in just a few months.
Earlier this year, while she still deciding whether or not to make another run for President, Stein came to the NJ Green Party Convention and spoke at Evelyn's Restaurant.
In her speeches this time around, Stein defined the Green Party as a third party option in the United States that puts “people, planet, and peace over profit.”
She spoke about her platform points: abolishing student debt, a national action plan for racial justice, the creation of a humane path to citizenship, and healthcare as a human right.
"We bailed out the crooks on Wall Street to the tune of $14 trillion. Now, how about we bail out the students?" Stein asked to applause at the "Student Power Congress," an event hosted on the campus of Rutgers University.
Stein's "Green New Deal" calls for the immediate transformation to a "green economy" that she says will put people of all education levels to work making the United States more sustainable in an effort to avert a pending "climate crisis."
She cited the recent estimates of climate scientist James Hansen, who said that global warming will causes glaciers to melt ten times faster than previously thought. Hansen's latest study estimates that sea levels will rise ten feet in the next fifty years unless major changes are made without "emergency cooperation among nations."
Stein also called for an end to the war on drugs, and the appointment of special investigators to look into police abuses of power, as well as emptying the country's prisons of those being held on drug charges.
Stein received a standing ovation from the crowd at Rutgers, and appeared at a fundraising event at Tumulty's Pub the following afternoon.
In a pamphlet handed out to attendees at that event, the Green Party is said to work towards “a strong Green campaign [that] will give voice to the rising majority and empower a new generation that knows there’s no future in politics-as-usual.”
“We don’t have deep pockets…that’s why we can be accountable to everyday people,” Stein told the crowd before asking for donations.
Molly O’Brien, a New Brunswick resident and one of seven Greens running for Assembly seats in New Jersey this year, organized the Tumulty's event.
O'Brien said she decided to run with the Green Party, “after learning that the Greens have real plans to reverse the damage that the Dems and the GOP have done to our environment, our communities, our economy, our schools, our health.”
Stein spoke of the need for a "politics of courage" to prevail over the existing "politics of fear." She spoke in front of a banner advertising "The Greater Good. Not The Lesser Evil," a reference to the frequent reasoning behind avoiding third-party candidates like her.
John Burns, a Trenton resident with ties to New Brunswick, attended the fundraiser and said he liked what Stein had to say.
“I like Jill [Stein] because she’s the first to blend a class and race analysis. When she showed up in Ferguson, I was pleased to see her keeping in the direction of Cynthia McKinney,” said Burns, referring to the 2008 Green Party Presidential candidate.
Lauren Magnusson, a New Brunswick resident, said she supports Stein because, “She has a great platform that is workable with the general public.”
Magnusson mentioned her support of Stein’s stances on the Israel-Palestine conflict and on co-ops.
Despite being free and open to the public, the event still raised more than $1,200 for Stein's campaign, bringing them closer to the threshold required to receive matching campaign funds from the federal government.
According to Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code, as paraphrased by the Federal Election Commission website:
Partial public funding is available to Presidential primary candidates in the form of federal matching payments. Candidates seeking their party's nomination to the Presidency can qualify to receive matching funds by raising over $5,000 in each of 20 states (i.e., over $100,000). Only contributions from individuals apply toward this threshold. Although an individual may contribute up to $1,000 to a candidate, only a maximum of $250 counts toward the threshold and is matchable.
Stein said that the campaign was already more than halfway to the $5,000 mark in New Jersey, and the event at Tumulty’s put the Green Party even closer to that goal.
After Jill Stein’s speech and request for campaign donations, attendees asked questions and spoke with the presidential candidate one-on-one.
Editor's Note: Molly O'Brien is a reporter with New Brunswick Today.