SILVER SPRING — Campaigning for candidates in the state, former presidential nominee Jill Stein urged voters to consider the Green Party this November.
“These candidates are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” Stein said to a crowd of approximately 40 people at the Riderwood Community Center in Silver Spring. “Ian [Schlakman] is amazing for what he’s done as an incredible, passionate advocate for a public interest agenda.”
Seeking to unseat incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Schlakman and his running mate, Rev. Annie Chambers, are running for the state’s highest office with the Green Party alongside numerous candidates at the state and county levels. They include Jon Cook, running for the House of Delegates in District 18; David Jeang, running for the State Senate in District 19; and Tim Willard, who is running for an at-large seat on County Council.
George Gluck is the only Green Party candidate running to represent the County at the federal level, mounting a congressional campaign in Maryland’s 6th District.
Schlakman, 33, explained his main objective is to win at least one percent of the vote in the 2018 gubernatorial election to maintain ballot access for the party. Maryland law requires any political party to prove affiliation with at least one percent of the state’s voting population.
Chambers, 76, is running in the race with a long history of activism with the late Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., membership in the Black Panther Party, and election to Baltimore’s Resident Advisory Board.
“The Green Party came into the public-housing developments and Baltimore City, and helped us fight for our basic needs, maintain a drug-free zone, and no more shooting,” she said, speaking to the audience. “Nobody else would touch it, none of our elected officials.”
Schlakman and Chambers are running on a progressive platform, including campaign-finance reform, city housing, and tuition-free college education.
Willard, who ran for a Council seat in 2014, said he was trying to “do well enough [to] attract more viable candidates next time around so that we can have a viable second party in the county. The Republican Party is not a viable second party.”
Stein, who ran for president as a Green Party candidate in 2012 and 2016, spoke for about 30 minutes and touched on many of the issues, adding the Green Party provides an opportunity for opposition to both the Democratic and Republican parties and stressing the need for a third party at all levels of government.
“If we’re voting against what we fear, there is nothing to move democracy forward,” she said. “There has to be a vision of what we are voting for.”