Friday, July 22, 2011

The Commonwealth's first Green legislator?

Mark Miller and family
Disclosure: I am Mark Miller's campaign manager.

On October 18 voters in Pittsfield, Western Massachusetts, will choose a new State Representative. The candidate who came in a close second in November 2010, Mark Miller, was gearing up to run again even before the news broke that the incumbent was stepping down to take a lifetime position in the court system. Now Mark Miller could be just 88 days away from becoming the state's first Green legislator.

At the last election Mark ran as a Green and won 45% of the votes, a solid foundation for building a successful special-election campaign. He's a Green who knows that enacting Green policies requires winning power and that winning power involves more than vision and passion; it demands dogged determination and effective communication. Mark happens to have been a newspaper editor, so he knows a thing or two about communicating. Add to that the fact that he's lived in Pittsfield his whole life and has great name recognition and we have most of the ingredients that constitute a recipe for electoral success.

Even just one Green legislator would be a game-changer in Massachusetts politics. Although Massachusetts has had independent state representatives in the recent past (e.g. William Lantigua) we have not had legislators from so-called third parties since the 1850s. So when Mark asked me to manage his campaign I jumped at the opportunity.

At least two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination, and after September 20 (primary day) we'll know which one will be running against Mark. There may be a Republican and an unenrolled candidate as well. We'll know for sure in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we're gathering signatures, canvassing door-to-door, and pumping out direct mail. In that sense -- and that sense only -- we're engaged in politics as usual: the retail variety.