Jill Stein announces Cheri Honkala as her choice for VP

CBS News is reporting, in an interview with her, that Green Party presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein has announced her choice for the party’s vice presidential candidate, to be approved at this week’s convention in Baltimore.  Cheri Honkala is the Stein campaign’s choice, a poor people’s advocate based in Philadelphia and the national coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.

There was some speculation that actress and comedian Roseanne Barr, who is also running for the Green Party’s presidential nomination, would be the vice presidential candidate.  However, Stein has opted instead for Honkala, saying in an announcement, “Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities.”

Honkala herself stated, “It’s immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world. It’s time for the 99% to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed. The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

For the time being, Honkala is also coordinating ballot access efforts for the Green Party of Pennsylvania, which is in the process of working to collect over 40,000 signatures by the end of July. Honkala joined the Green Party in 2011, when she ran for Sheriff of Philadelphia on a platform of turning the Sheriff’s office from the department that evicts people to a social service working to “keep families in their homes,” as well as establishing community land trusts so that people living near vacant and abandoned properties can control them.  Honkala ran for Sheriff after labor organizer Hugh Giordano reinvigorated the Green Party of Philadelphia with his strong run for state representative in 2010.  The campaign proposal of addressing blight and vacant lots is part of a Philadelphia-wide political effort to address vacant land in the city in recent years.  Honkala is also consistently involved in efforts to prevent individual families from losing their homes to foreclosure and other work ensuring the basic survival of some of the most economically oppressed in Philadelphia.  The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign also operates around the United States, and is part of various international poor peoples’ movements.

As mentioned earlier, Honkala has been an activist of one form or another, whether simply to ensure the survival of herself and her son in the Minnesota winter when she was homeless or organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in 2000, for decades.  Several documentaries have been made about her or her efforts, including “Poverty Outlaw,” and she was featured in the book The Myth of the Welfare Queen.  Honkala has been named one of the 100 most powerful people in the region by Philadelphia magazine, as well as being named “Person of the Year” once by Philadelphia Weekly. Her son Mark Webber is an actor, director, and playwright who used his celebrity to help her campaign for Sheriff.  In that campaign, Cheri campaigned and organized in Philadelphia, as well as travelling the country to encourage progressives to leave the Democratic Party and encourage Greens to approach politics in a way that is more inclusive of and relevant to poor people.

A press conference was held today to make the announcment, which has been posted on Jill Stein’s campaign website.

[Disclosure:  I was involved in Cheri Honkala's campaign for Sheriff on many levels and this summer I have been part of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, working on a farm they are organizing in the neighborhood where Honkala lives.  I am also a member of the Green Party of PA, was active in Hugh Giordano's campaign, and have been collecting signatures to get the Stein campaign on the ballot there.]

32 thoughts on “Jill Stein announces Cheri Honkala as her choice for VP

  1. Deran

    I think Ms. Honkala is a great choice, adds a serious social and economic justice element to the Green Party presidential campaign.

  2. Curt Boyd

    I agree. She is a very good choice.

    BTW – How is ballot access going in PA? I live near Harrisburg, and would be willing to sign a petition.

  3. Ross Levin Post author

    Hey Curt, there are a lot of people collecting signatures now (we are well on our way to 40,000 but at the same time have a long way to go…I don’t know the exact numbers unfortunately), but we could use all the help we can get. Do you think you could collect some signatures?

  4. Trent Hill

    Reed–I’m quite certain that none of the members of other third parties (or the public in general) knew the vice presidential picks of any of the other party’s vice presidential nominees before they were picked. Judge Jim Gray had the highest profile, but even he was pretty obscure to anyone outside of the libertarian universe.

  5. upstartgreen

    Greens are familiar with MS. Honkala and we are pleased with her being picked for VP. I heard of her way out here in Michigan.

  6. Green Party Voter

    I was at the Green Party press conference with Dr. Jill Stein today at the National Press Club.

    Rosanne Barr would have brought more national attention to the Green Party.

    The gentlewoman Dr. Stein selected clearly was nervous. Yet her message was as true as it gets.

    If they can get the Green Party on the ballot in Penn….it will produce a positive result.

    No one can know that now.

    The truth is, Rosanne Barr, may yet end up being the nominee on Saturday.

    The Green Party, one of it’s delights, has always been unpredictable.

    Let’ see what Saturday’s Convention produces..

  7. paulie

    The truth is, Rosanne Barr, may yet end up being the nominee on Saturday.

    What kind of odds would you like on that one? :-)

  8. Steven Wilson

    Regardless of the outcome, I am very proud of Jill Stein and the campaign she is running. Honkala is rock solid in the social issues of the modern green. I hope they do well. Cheers.

  9. Reed Ebarb

    @ 10. Someone well known in the Green Party. Barr would have been a decent choice and Cynthia would have to. However, I am not saying Cheri is a bad choice at all.

  10. Curt Boyd

    @3 – unfortunately, my work schedule does not allow me to get out and petition. I have sent some donations to Jill’s campaign, and would be glad to send some to the PA Greens.

  11. Ross Levin Post author

    Curt, that’d be much appreciated, as we’ve started paying petitioners recently. And even if you can just devote a few hours between now and August 1, that would be enough to get one sheet (35 signatures). Email me – RLevin@wesleyan.edu – and I’ll get you more info about donating and/or petitioning.

  12. bruuno

    Kind of off topic but is Winona LaDuke still active with the GP?
    From what little I know Honkala seems like a solid choice though little argument that Barr would have brought more publicity. Barr is a bit of a ticking time bomb but may have been worth the risk. McKinney would have ben a bad choice.

  13. Ad Hoc

    Barr was probably asked. She seems to prefer to keep running with a non-balloted entity of her invention, the “Green Tea Party.” She is also reported to be active in Ogle’s fantasy parliament. I guess that’s to be expected from a nut farm resident, LOL….

  14. Edy Vote Green Alvarez

    In 2004, David Cobb’s faction was basically able to overtake the convention and the nomination. There’s a book by Green Party member Howie Hawkins on how it all went down. Nader was the most favorable but when the convention came down to it, something magin happened. I would suggest everyone check out the book Im talking about, especially to all Greens. I see it as a cautionary warning.
    http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Politics-Green-Strategy-Debate/dp/B0078XYKGW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342081080&sr=1-1&keywords=green+party+howie

    But I dont think something similar will happen and Dr. Stein will get the nomination regardless.

  15. Edy Vote Green Alvarez

    As far as I know, LaDuke is not involved with the Greens. I could be wrong, but I haven’t heard anything. She might be peripherally involved like people like Medea Benjamin, but I dont think so.

    I suggested for VP Marcy Winograd, who registered Green this year. She was chair of the progressive dems in Los Angeles. She could have campaigned on the West coast and would understand the proper channles to recruit people to the Green Party.

  16. Ross

    Yeah, Lake that is me (and I wrote this article, so you can see what I’ve been up to lately at the end of it). And I did get your letters–sorry I never replied, they just came at very busy times.

  17. Starchild

    Given how thoroughly government in this country is controlled by Republicans and Democrats, and the kinds of things that government has been doing in practice with its money and power, I am curious to hear from those of you in the Green Party how most Greens are looking at things these days.

    My expectation is that most Greens probably tend to want less government spending on some things (e.g. military & war, space exploration, corporate welfare), and more government spending on other things (e.g. education, traditional welfare), but I’m just wondering which way the scales would tend to tip overall — more government spending, or less? More government power, or less?

    Starchild
    At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee

  18. Lake, forwarding / presenting

    Ross, hang in der and keep looking behind you! Between Philly, school, and court appearances I do not doubt that you have been busy, busy!

    As important as it is to leave a paper trail in our fight against the thuggy establishment, take care of your self every now ant then!

    Starchild, as a former military officer, I do not want another Pearl Harbor, especially due to budget cuts. How ever the American military expeditors exceeds China. It exceeds all the other G8 nations, en toto!

    But IMNSHO, 9 – 11 – 2001 was not budget dependent. Negligent, yes, Treasonous, yes, hang Bush League and Dickless Cheney in the rose garden on September Twelfth, yes.

  19. Jeremy C. Young

    Why would Greens want less money spent on space exploration? Scientific research seems to me very much a Green sort of thing.

  20. Krieger

    Yes, Jeremy C. Young, I think most people supportive of the Green Party favor continued funding for space exploration.

    By the way, the individuals who oppose technology altogether (i.e. “green anarchists”) are prevented by their anarchist ideology from joining political parties. So they should not be confused with the Green Party.

  21. Ross

    I don’t know, Krieger, I consider myself something of an anarchist and I’d also say I’m generally opposed to spending a great deal of money on NASA when that could be used here on Earth (I wouldn’t vehemently defend that, it’s more of an inclination), and I’m an active member of the Green Party as well. Although I think being in the Green Party is somewhat inconsistent with a lot of my other beliefs, honestly.

    Starchild, I’d say I’m torn between the ideal of my anarchism and alleviating pain in the present. So I find myself trying to do anarchist projects and organizing (eg, the occupied farm in Philly), but at the same time doing things like helping Cheri to promote an anti-austerity rally. And maybe that is somewhat ideologically inconsistent, but I’m fine with that. The rally, as well as being against foreclosure, was in support of a program that helps tens of thousands of chronically ill people to survive, and I do think that’s a good thing. “Survival pending revolution,” as the Black Panthers would say, and that takes many forms.

  22. PeterO

    It’s interesting that both the Libertarians and Constitution Party have former holders of high office as their nominees, while the Greens — who have arguably been more successful on a national level in recent years — do not.

  23. Lake, forwarding / presenting

    and on the ‘War is a Paycheck’ front:

    Auditors say billions likely wasted in Iraq work
    ROBERT BURNS – The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After years of following the paper trail of $51 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars provided to rebuild a broken Iraq, the U.S. government can say with certainty that too much was wasted. But it can’t say how much.

    In what it called its final audit report, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Funds on Friday spelled out a range of accounting weaknesses that put “billions of American taxpayer dollars at risk of waste and misappropriation” in the largest reconstruction project of its kind in U.S. history.

    “The precise amount lost to fraud and waste can never be known,” the report said.

    The auditors found huge problems accounting for the huge sums, but one small example of failure stood out:

    A contractor got away with charging $80 for a pipe fitting that its competitor was selling for $1.41.

    Why? The company’s billing documents were reviewed sloppily by U.S. contracting officers or were not reviewed at all.

  24. paulie

    while the Greens — who have arguably been more successful on a national level in recent years

    PeterO

    LP has done better than GP in every presidential election except Nader 2000. LP has more candidates, more people in office, more dues paying members, more money. I think we may be back to having more registered Libertarians but I’d have to check. We get far more cumulative votes due to having more candidates.

    Lake

    Please use the Open Thread for posts like @31

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