Sunday July 15, 2012

BALTIMORE -- A doctor who ran against Mitt Romney for Massachusetts governor a decade ago is poised to do it again, this time as the Green Party’s presidential nominee.

Jill Stein, an internist from Lexington, Mass., acknowledges that her candidacy is a super long shot. Still, she notes that a growing number of people are expressing frustration with the two major political parties and she cites the Oc cupy Wall Street movement as an example of that.

"We are in it to win it, but we’re also in it to build it, and those are both wins in my book," Stein, 62, said in an interview at the Green Party’s convention in Baltimore, where she was prepared to give her acceptance speech in the afternoon.

Stein was far ahead of comedian Roseanne Barr for the party nod. Convention organizers said Barr was not expected to attend.

Stein hopes the party will qualify in at least 40 states, but the total now stands at 21 and does not include state hosting the convention. Stein also notes that the Green Party has qualified for federal matching funds for the first time in its 11-year history.

"It is yet another sign that we are in a different historical moment right now -- that people are taking the stakes here very seriously and understanding that it is we, ourselves, who are going to get us out of this mess, we, the American people," Stein said. "The corporate-sponsored political parties -- the establishment -- isn’t going to change the status quo for us. We’ve got to do it."

Stein has been running for office in Massachusetts over the past decade. In the 2002 race against Romney, she only won 3 percent of the vote.

"I entered that race in desperation as a medical doctor and a mother seeing things unraveling and the political system incapable of responding to it," Stein said.

She says she doesn’t worry that even a marginal performance in a single state could tip the scales against President Barack Obama. Many viewed Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s showing in Florida in 2000 as a big factor in Democrat Al Gore’s loss to Republican George W. Bush.

"You don’t get democracy by silencing the voice of the public interest," Stein said.

Stein also made unsuccessful runs for secretary of state in 2006 and governor again in 2010.

She is highlighting what she describes as a Green New Deal as the main focus of her platform. She calls it an emergency program designed to create 25 million jobs and jump-start a green economy for the 21st century to help address climate change and make wars for oil obsolete.