Green Party Nominates Clark and Lawrence for US Senate

The Green Party state convention in Albany nominated a full slate of candidates for statewide office in New York this November. Gloria Mattera, a long time peace activist from Brooklyn was nominated to run for Lt. Governor on a ticket with Syracuse labor activist Howie Hawkins. Colia Clark was nominated to run for the US Senate seat presently held by Chuck Schumer, while Cecile Lawrence was picked to fill out the Senate seat previously held by Hillary Clinton. Julia Willebrand, a long time environmental activist from Manhattan who received more than 117,000 votes for Comptroller four years ago, was chosen to run for that seat again.

Colia Clark is a veteran of the civil rights movement. Her work has included activism in the fields of women's rights and workers' rights, as well as activism and advocacy for homeless people and youth. Most recently, she has worked with the Cynthia McKinney for President campaign with "Power to the People". Clark is a chair of Grandmothers for the Release of Mumia Abu Jamal.

During the Civil Rights era, Colia Clark was a Special Assistant to Medgar W. Evers, field Secretary for the NAACP. Clark later joined the Mississippi Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) doing voter registration work. In the 1990s Clark was a professor at the University of Albany as well as Director of the Social Justice Center.

Immigration reform will be a key focus of the Clark candidacy.

"As USA Senator from New York, I will work tirelessly with my colleagues in the Senate and on Capitol Hill to address the failing economy, failing schools, failing infrastructure, crisis in energy, health care, food production and other areas of the USA socio-political economy," said Ms. Clark.

"The right of immigrants to live, work and have their families visit is a human right. NAFTA, CAFTA, Project Hope and other infringements on the right of workers in other nations is unacceptable and as Senator from NYS I will work on all fronts to cancel these hideous instruments of corporate power," added Clark.

Clark said she was strongly opposed to Sen. Schumer's proposal to require a new social security card that includes bio-metric information like finger prints for every U.S. citizen. Clarke compared this to the slave passes that Africans in USA enslavement carried up to 1865.

"The right to privacy, the right to move about the nation freely without police intrusion is quickly becoming an endangered right. Any remnant of slave pass laws/ Apartheid pass laws must be challenged and defeated in the interest of freedom for NYS and the nation," Clark added.

Ms. Clark has been active in relief efforts for the Haitian people and supports an end to the American domination and occupation of the country. She said that it was shameful that after the recent earthquake that the Obama administration focused on sending American military forces to Haiti, impeding the effort to provide needed relief to local victims.

"The US must end the longstanding US policy of meddling in the affairs of our southern neighbors. The age of the Monroe Doctrine has long been outdated. In Haiti, America for more than century has repeatedly used its military might to invade the country and to overthrow democratically elected leaders. America must remove all of our 20,000 troops presently occupying Haiti, and support the immediate removal of the 15,000 United Nations troops which have occupied Haiti since 2004. I propose the Haiti Reparation Bill that provides for economic relief required for emergency relief; including emergency medical care, housing, food, roads and infrastructure and education. Such legislation must address the acknowledged responsibility for rebuilding the agriculture sector destroyed under the presidential policy of our former President Clinton," added Clark.

Clark said she strongly supported Hawkins proposal to make Wall Street bail our Main Street and Martin Luther King Blvd.

"As Senator from New York, I will work unceasingly for a Home Owner Restoration Project for those who lost homes due to the corporate induced mortgage crisis. Utilize the Wall Street profits on the Peoples money to help residents who lost their homes and property due to corporate scams, reimbursing them for all damages, including restoration of homes or placement into a home of equal value. New regulation for Wall Street must have teeth which acknowledges and controls the criminality of the corporate moguls who dared destroy the economic foundation of the USA." Clark added.

Dr. Cecile Lawrence, who will be challenging Sen. Gillibrand, has been active in health care reform for over 15 years. She's published on the topic of racism in medical research and health care. She has a PhD in Philosophy, Interpretation & Culture from Binghamton University (S.U.N.Y.) and is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (S.U.N.Y.) Law School. A resident of Tioga County, she’s been a board member of local civic organizations such as the YWCA and the Southern Tier Independence Center, and is currently a member of Tioga Peace and Justice. She has worked in college administration and in non-profit administration.

Lawrence said that "We need to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan now and return the troops home in early 2011. The U.S. must cease its drive for empire and domination of the planet including the embeddedness of its military forces with corporations whose drive for access to the resources of other countries lead to the destruction of their environmental and socio-economic health. Corporations must be stripped of the artificial personhood granted them by an accident of the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting not in human personhood but in god-like status, since they never get sick, and can never die. Reform Wall Street, getting rid of the practices that led to the idea of 'too big to fail."

Active in the fight against hydrofracking for natural gas in the Southern Tier, Lawrence added that "the focus of my campaign will be on health in all forms, the health of individuals, the health of the soil, air and water, the health of all life forms, the health of society. This goal cannot be met without the elimination of for-profit health insurance companies, the complete renovation of our food system, which has led to astronomical rates of obesity nationwide, and the elimination of this country's attitude of control over other countries."

"We need to cancel all subsidies to CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operations) and rapidly phase out their existence nationwide. Transfer those subsidies to the development of small scale organic, permaculture, or biodynamic methods of farming at the state level. We should transfer all current federal subsidies to coal, gas, oil and nuclear to the development and installation of solar, small-scale wind farms disconnected from each other, ground source heat pumps and yet to be invented methods. We must ban all offshore drilling for gas and oil in U.S. waters," stated Lawrence.

Lt. Governor nominee Gloria Mattera has been active in the Green Party in NYS since 2001 and has stood for local office as a Green Party candidate on three occasions. As a first time candidate for city Council in District 39 in Brooklyn, Mattera highlighted the growing inequities in NYC at a time when Wall Street and real estate developers were reaping huge profits as hunger, poverty and homelessness were on the rise. She reached out to the Muslim communities in her district who were being targeted and joined fellow peace activists in opposing the bombing of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks.

In her 2003 race in District 39, Mattera placed second with close to 20% of the vote by continuing her campaign theme of the billions spent on war abroad would be better served by providing health care, housing and union-scale jobs here at home. In 2005, Mattera challenged incumbent Marty Markowitz for Brooklyn Borough President, after he enraged local communities by championing the use of eminent domain to seize homes for the benefit of private developer Bruce Ratner’s professional basketball arena and a multiple high-rise tower project. Mattera advocated human scale development driven by community specific needs that promoted sustainability and offered truly affordable housing.

Mattera was successful in raising enough funds for each campaign to qualify for campaign finance matching funds.

Before joining the Green Party, Mattera was involved in the Founding Convention of the Labor Party under union and environmental activist, Tony Mazzocchi. Mattera holds a Masters’ Degree in Special Education. After teaching children with special needs for 5 years, Mattera entered the field of Child Life. She has worked with under-served, immigrant children and their families in the NYC public hospital system for over 20 years. Mattera is a long time Executive Board member of Physicians for A National Health Program NY Metro Chapter and on the steering committee of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

"I want New York State to be a leader in the fight against global warming. The state is the world's 16th largest economy. While the present governor's Executive Order 24, which commits New York State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 based on 1990 levels, is a good start, we would make 2020 the target date. We oppose the State's proposal to build 20 more nuclear power plants. Instead we propose reaching emission reduction targets by way of a massive program of energy conservation in buildings; the scaling up of mass transit, and to move decisively towards reaching a goal of 100% renewable energy in NY State and nationally by 2050," said Mattera.

Mattera joined Hawkins in his call to "tax Wall Street in order to invest in Main Street." The Green Party wants progressive tax reforms to close the state budget deficit, restore cuts to schools and other public services, share revenues with local governments, and provide "jobs for all at living wages" in public works and services. Like most New Yorkers, the Greens are disgusted by the climate of political corruption and special interests that dominates the state Capitol and believes it is time for wholesale changes. Hawkins and Mattera are strong supporters of ethics reform, democratizing legislative rules, and eliminating member items,as well as full campaign financing and proportional representation.

Julia Willebrand, the Green Party nominee for State Comptroller, has been a lifetime activist in education, peace, labor and social justice struggles. A non-traditional student, she graduate from City College at age 32 and received an MA and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. She was UFT delegate when a teacher at PS 84. She represents the Women's Caucus on the Green Party National committee and is past Co-president of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas. She ran for State Senate on the Upper West Side in 1998 and for mayor of New York in 2001. Willebrand has served as chair of the NYC Sierra Club Solid Waste Committee, chair of the Manhattan Citizens' Solid Waste Advisory Board, and on the steering committee of the Citywide Recycling Advisory Board, has testified frequently at hearings on solid waste, air and water pollution, and sprawl.

Key issues for Ms. Willebrand in the state comptroller race includes: establishing a Socially Responsible Investment policy for NYS' public pension fund; supporting legislation to change the Comptroller as sole trustee of the CRF to a representative Public Board; auditing charter school funding to publicize Wall street's newest casino.

At the national level, the Green Party has opposed from the start the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and supports the immediate withdrawal of American troops. It advocates for a massive cut in the military budget to free up funds to help local and state governments resolve their budget crisis and to invest in domestic programs such as child nutrition, renewable energy, education, affordable housing and job creation. The Greens opposed the recent Democratic health insurance mandate bill as a huge public subsidy for private health insurance companies and continue to call to make health care a right through a single payer expanded and improved Medicare for All type program. The Greens have long called for an end to the war on drugs and to curtail the prison industrial complex that now imprisons more than 2 million Americas, overwhelmingly low-income individuals and people of color.