Green-Rainbow Party looks to make its mark outside the beltway


LENOX -- Local Green-Rainbow Party members see potential in 2014 and think they can use a bigger spotlight to draw attention to important issues outside the beltway.

For starters, the party has three candidates running for statewide office in the Massachusetts general election on Nov. 4.

They are Daniel Factor, running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, Ian T. Jackson, running for State Treasurer and M.K. Merelice, running for State Auditor.

"It's an opportunity for them, and for us, to reach out to voters across Massachusetts," said Scott Laugenour, Berkshire County Representative of the party's State Committee.

Laugenour and other local members hope to begin pounding the pavement with the thaw this spring, gathering signatures to get these candidates on the statewide ballot. And, register more local Greens, while they're at it.

At last count, around 200 people were registered Green-Rainbow in the county, the majority in Pittsfield. In Lenox, part of Laugenour's home turf, registered members grew fourfold in the past three years, from eight to 32.

Jackson, of Arlington, hopes to focus on cutting student debt, explore the possibilities of a Massachusetts Public Bank and social justice issues, Laugenour said.

Factor, an attorney in Acton, has focused his career on social justice issues as well. In the position of certifying state corporations, Factor hopes to bring attention to corporate laws like the 2010 Citizens United decision, which allowed the political system to become flooded by unprecedented amounts of corporate money.

M.K. Merelice, of Brookline, is new to the political scene and yet to roll out campaign ideas.

Because Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president in 2012, failed to eclipse three percent of the state vote in that year, the Green-Rainbow Party lost its party status with the state, in accordance with Massachusetts law.

That could be reversed if any of these candidates eclipse the three percent mark in November, Laugenour pointed out.

"When our party status is restored, more towns can form committees like [the Lenox Green-Rainbow Party Town Committee], we're automatically on the voter registration forms and we have more ways to promote growth," Laugenour said.

In order for all the candidates to appear on the state ballot, 5,000 certified signatures are needed. Laugenour has committed to getting 200 of these.

"We can raise issues that otherwise wouldn't be raised," Laugenour said. "I'm very excited about this. I know all three candidates, and there's a very good chance one will get [the three percent vote needed]."

The Green-Rainbow platform focuses on community health and education, conservation and environmentalism, sustainable economics and civil rights.

To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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