The Illinois Green Party's state convention drew the party faithful to Macomb March 3-4. But the Greens will need to attract many more true believers if they hope to make an impact.
Around 40 people took part in the convention in the Sandburg Theater at Western Illinois University. The empty seats far outnumbered the party members.
Nonetheless, Illinois Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry believes most Americans have a lot more in common with the party than they might realize. He called the Greens the “majoritarian” party in the US.
“On issue after issue, we really believe that our position is in line with the majority of the general public, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are there,” Huckelberry said.
Huckelberry said the Greens oppose handouts to big businesses, they want to see more participatory democracy, and they oppose the escalation of international conflicts.
The Green Party will not appear on ballots during the March 20 primary in Illinois. It failed to earn enough votes during the 2010 election to retain automatic ballot status. Huckelberry said the convention was used to launch a petition drive to gather 25,000 signatures to ensure the Green Party appears on ballots in the November election.
“We hit kind of a wall after 2010 when we lost established party status,” Huckelberry said. “We're hoping that this meeting is really going to rev things back up.”
The party chose to hold its convention in Macomb after the Campus Greens at WIU made a splash during last fall's mock election at the university.
“Having a campus organization that's a third party be one of the largest organizations on campus, and be the most involved, really drew in a lot of attention,” Campus Greens President Staci Buster said.
“I think it impressed a lot of the Illinois Green Party members.”
The convention featured policy discussions and the selection of delegates to the party's national convention, which will take place in Baltimore in July. The candidates for the party's presidential nomination are Dr Jill Stein and Roseanne Barr.
The Illinois Green Party also used its convention in Macomb to host seminars on sustainable foods, renewable energy, and strategies for winning local elections.
You can listen to the on-air feature about the Illinois Green Party convention in Macomb by clicking on the top audio button. The second button features an interview with Illinois Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry. The third button contains an interview with WIU Campus Greens President Staci Buster.