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New Cleveland County Green Party’s chapter recruits members

Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report
Rachel Jackson and Bryan Jackson speaking at the Cleveland County Green Party Revival on March 30 at the Norman Public Library.
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NORMAN, Okla. – A dozen of attendees came to the Cleveland County Green Party Revival meeting on March 30 at the Norman Public Library. Rachel Jackson, facilitator of the Green Party of Oklahoma and Bryan Jackson (who are unrelated) were the principal speakers of the night. The presence of Bill Hickman, candidate for Norman’s city council Ward 4 could be observed.

“Two weeks ago I wanted to throw down my Democrat card and choose Independent,” Bryan Jackson said, noting his two priorities are environment protection and education.

Bryan Jackson was notably disappointed in the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s chairman's memo sent to various publications regarding their positions concerning various issues, such as taxes, funding educations, and environment, saying, “It was frustrating.”

Contrarily to the Libertarian Party, the Green Party of Oklahoma (GPOK) didn’t reach the petition goal of 24,745 needed at the latest on March 1 to certify a new party in Oklahoma. The principal consequence is the impossibility to put the name of the Green Party candidate in Oklahoma ballot for the 2016 presidential election. The GPOK will have to wait until Nov. 15 to continue the petition.

Rachel Jackson said the Libertarian party spent about $100,000 to collect the signatures when the national budget of the Green Party is only $56,000.

“There is really no way we find the money to get these signatures, this is going to be all volunteering,” Rachel Jackson said.

The facilitator of the GPOK believed ballot access laws are restraining democracy by limiting the number of official political parties, saying, “Because we cannot get on the ballot it is very hard to build a target when people can’t check a box.”

According to Rachel Jackson, the actual ballot access law was created in 1974. The new legislation obligated any new party to get at least three percent of the total votes cast in the last general election for governor instead of the 5,000 signatures required before.

“What this effectively did is make it impossible for a third party to go on the ballot,” Rachel Jackson said.

Then she said the GPOK doesn’t endorse any city council candidate. They did, however, make a national election endorsement for Bernie Sanders, as widely seen on social media.

“When you don’t have ballot access you don’t think about endorsing a candidate, you think about ballot access,” Rachel Jackson said.

Bryan Jackson was agreeably surprised by the quantity and the quality of people in Norman who are defending environmental causes which will facilitate to fund the new chapter in Cleveland County. He added the Green Party as the capacity to attract the progressive community and wanted to welcome the pro-Bernie group of Cleveland County, some members were present. Bryan Jackson wished the GPOK could have candidates for any type of legislature including city council.

Hickman thought the GPOK should use the enthusiasm created by Bernie Sanders campaign to attract more people into the Green Party. A majority of the attendees agreed upon to Hickman’s suggestion.

“That fire is burning and it is the best time to give these people a direction,” an attendee said.

One of the other main subjects discussed was the oil and gas ordinance and fracking issue in Norman, but for obvious reasons someone in the meeting didn’t want the information to be divulged.

For more information visit GPOK’s website.

Corrections were made to this article at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 1.

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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