BROOKLIN, Maine — Members of the local Green Independent Party on Saturday endorsed a candidate for governor and backed a newly formed Hancock County Green committee.
The Brooklin Green Independent caucus kicked off the caucus process for the party heading toward its state convention in May.
Eight of the 49 registered Green Independent Party members turned out for the caucus and formally endorsed Bar Harbor lawyer Lynne Williams as their candidate for governor. By consensus, they also decided to form as a standing municipal committee, a move that allows the local group to send delegates to the new Hancock County party committee, one of several being established this year.
According to Jack Harrington, a member of the state Green party steering committee, the party is attempting to organize county committees in key, coastal counties where the party is strongest as a pilot project in order to organize statewide and to improve communications.
“We need to organize and really push,” Harrington told the local members. “The elections of 2010 and 2012 are going to be critical. We believe we have an opportunity to make significant gains on the state and national levels.”
Setting up county committees, he said, will give the party the ability to gather information from around the county and provide a better way for local members to forward their particular issues and concerns back to the state party.
The county committees also may help to communicate better the party’s goals and principles and to change long-standing ideas about the party. Member Tom Hardy raised concerns about the “Green” in the Green Independent Party noting that it has turned many people away from the party.
“‘Green’ scares a lot of people off,” he said. “It’s a killer.”
Harrington noted that their image as “simply tree-huggers,” is outdated and that the party stands for a wide variety of local and national issues including opposition to the war in Iraq and support for universal health care.
Becoming more organized will help the party to communicate those ideals statewide and on the local level, he said.
Establishing a standing local committee requires that the committee meet quarterly in addition to the local caucus. The caucus on Saturday selected Claire Mortimer and Tom Hardy as delegates to the county committee.
The group also named Joe Lendvai as committee chair; Jane Clifton and David Putnam as co-secretaries, and Mortimer as member at large to serve on the standing committee.
In wide-ranging discussions during the caucus, members generally supported Green party platform issues including sustainable energy and promoting “green” industry. They also informally backed a proposal that would keep the Brunswick Naval Air Station on the government books and to maintain and develop those facilities to support veteran’s programs, including medical facilities and a jobs training program.
Although members were enthusiastic about the plan, they did not develop a consensus action to endorse the plan.
The members registered support for alternative energy projects including wind power, despite some of the concerns raised by the noise generated from some projects, including the recently activated wind turbines on Vinalhaven. They generally advocated smaller projects than those being proposed and built in the state.
“The problem is that they’re just too big,” Putnam said. “They don’t need to be that big.”
The caucus also supported small-scale hydroelectric power, particularly tidal generators that are being developed.
Municipal caucuses will be held in:
• Lincoln County Caucus, Feb. 8 (time and location TBA).
• Deer Isle Caucus, Feb. 13 (time and location TBA).
• Rockport Caucus, 7 p.m. Feb. 10, Rockport town office.
• Portland Caucus, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 13, State of Maine Room, City Hall.
Others are being planned throughout the state. Anyone who wants to convene a local caucus in their municipality may contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 699-4141.