Green Party convention kicks off today in Iowa City

Iowa Memorial Union
The Iowa Memorial Union will host the majority of this week’s events. — photo by Stephen Cummings

The Green Party’s 2013 Annual National Meeting kicks off today at the Iowa Memorial Union. Party members from across the country will be using the space from July 25 – 28, taking part in workshops, panels and planning sessions as the party gears up for the 2014 midterm election season. A number of Green candidates and elected officials (both affiliated and unaffiliated) are expected to attend, including former FEC Commissioner Nick Johnson.

The Green Party of the United States first received widespread public attention during the 1996 and 2000 elections via presidential candidate Ralph Nader, who was nominated by the party’s forerunner organization: the Association of State Green Parties. Currently, the Green Party of the United States has no congressional representation and holds just one seat at the state level (Arkansas House Rep. Frederick Smith).

Why pick Iowa City for a national conference? Iowa Green Party Secretary Holly Hart explains:

Iowans, who live in a ‘first caucus in the nation’ state, have a history of being out in front on important issues: marriage equality, gender balance in state boards and commissions, integration of public schools. Henry Wallace, who ran for President in 1948 on the Progressive Party ticket, was an Iowan. Greens belong here in Iowa.

“Like Iowans, Greens are ahead of the curve. We’re the party that’s promoting a serious approach to climate change, reducing carbon emissions, winning a single-payer national health care program, moving money to locally owned and controlled banks, gaining a constitutional amendment to overturn the doctrine of corporate personhood, and ensuring integrity of the vote.

This four-day event requires a $125 registration fee to attend, however, portions of the weekend’s Annual National Meeting will be streamed. Visit the Green Party’s Livestream page for continuing updates. A full conference schedule is available here.

For those looking for an accessible opportunity to engage, a Friday peace vigil will be held on the Northwest corner of Clinton and Washington Street (near the Downtown Interchange). The vigil will run from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.