Local Greens take next step towards establishing new incarnation of political party

In the early 2000s, Bloomington’s local newspaper, the Herald-Times, was sprinkled with mentions of the Monroe County Green Party—about 50 references from 2000 to 2006. Only a couple mentions are recorded after that—and those are historical references.

In that era, local Green Party candidates included 8th District congressional seat write-in candidate Marc Haggerty in 2000, Jeff Melton as a candidate for the same congressional seat in 2002, and county council candidate Julie Roberts, also in 2002.

That’s based on records from the Monroe County Public Library’s portal to the online NewsBank archives of the Herald-Times.

At the library’s bricks-and-mortar building on Kirkwood Avenue, local Greens followed their first organizational meeting in late October with a second one on Tuesday. Leader of the current effort to achieve recognition as a local party organization, Randy Paul, says he wants the local Green Party to have an influence longer into the future.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the roughly 10 people present elected five interim officers, including Paul as one of the two co-chairs. The other co-chair is Nile Arena.

Rounding out the officer positions are Brandon Drake (vice chair), Amanda Sheridan (communications chair) and Gregory George (treasurer).

The group is recognized as a “caucus” by the Indiana State Green Party. Election of officers was one of the tasks that the group has a year to complete, to achieve official recognition as a local Green Party organization, according to Paul. Other tasks include setting up a bank account and adopting bylaws.

A review of draft bylaws was the other order of business on Tuesday, with a vote to adopt them expected at the next meeting. The next meeting is currently set for Dec. 10, but might change, according to Paul.

Membership in the party’s local organization as a voting member was proposed in the initial draft bylaws as contingent on meeting a threshold of attendance at three consecutive meetings. Voting privileges were proposed in the initial draft to be suspended if two consecutive meetings are missed.

That prompted some discussion on Tuesday, because it meant that university students, who would likely be away from Bloomington during the summer, would likely miss two consecutive meetings and have their voting privileges suspended. Those were the kind of issues that the group hashed through, to arrive at a draft that will be put to a vote in December.

Later in the week, Paul told The Beacon that the leadership of the Indiana Green Party had agreed to allow the Monroe County Greens to run candidates in 2020 as a “caucus” before the group archives official organizational status.

At the first organizational meeting in October, Paul said there were three people who were interested in running as Green Party candidates for local office in Monroe County. Their names would be announced in January, Paul said.

Among the reasons that Paul and others have given for wanting to re-establish the Green Party in Bloomington and the rest of Monroe County is a desire to provide some competition to the Democratic Party. Democrats hold all 11 city offices in Bloomington.

In early November, municipal elections were held in just two of Bloomington’s six city council districts, because there were no citywide contested races, and council district races were uncontested in four districts.

cropped 11-19-2019 greg george IMG_0270
Greg George, treasurer, of the Monroe County Green Party. (Dave Askins/ Beacon)