Decades before medical marijuana and LGBT rights took center stage in the political campaigns of major parties, Green Party candidates across the country pushed for both issues.
Today, Constance Gadell-Newton, the Green Party candidate running for governor, is pushing for a cleaner environment and protecting civil liberties.
Gadell-Newton, an attorney and activist from Columbus, will appear on the ballot with running mate Brett Joseph this fall and she hopes her message can make an impact on the election.
The Green Party grew out of the environmentalist movement of the 1970s and its platform includes grassroots democracy, social justice, and standing for non-violence. Critics of third parties say third-party candidates do more damage than they do good in elections for major offices, but Gadell-Newton has a message for those critics and voters alike.
“Factually, that’s not true,” she said. “If you look at the numbers, traditionally, the draw of votes that we’ve gotten has not made up the difference between the other two candidates.”
Gadell-Newton said third parties offer voters another choice instead of having to pick between Democrats and Republicans.
“We really offer people a choice and a voice in our democracy, and part of what we’re doing is bringing up issues that often don’t get talked about in the political debate,” she explained.
Gadell-Newton says the fracking debate is one of the issues that don’t get enough attention in Ohio and that the Green Party is taking a stand against fracking and injection wells.
“We really believe the people have the right to clean water,” she said. “Our water and our environment shouldn’t be exploited by corporations for profit.”
Gadell-Newton also pointed to the party’s decades-long support of gay marriage and marijuana legalization and decriminalization and said that the Green Party in Ohio is growing.
“In this past primary, we had about 75% growth of our official party membership and we have seen chapters popping up all over Ohio,” she said. “We are really seeking to represent all Ohio citizens in rural areas and in urban areas and really speak to those issues that are getting ignored.”
Gadell-Newton says the Green Party runs a people-focused campaign and doesn’t accept corporate donations.