This is a transcript of Jill Stein's livestreamed Fireside Chat with guests Glenn Ross and Andy Ellis on October 9, 2018.
Hello friends, rebels, welcome to the Fireside Chat where we rise up as the empire doubles down - where we come together to resist endless war, austerity, the assault on democracy, on our communities, on Mother Earth, and humanity. And we stand together for the world we deserve, for an America and world that works for all of us - where we build a another kind of government, another kind of community, that puts people planet and peace over profit instead of the other way around.
Tonight we're very honored to have two guests with us, who I will just mention right now, and then we will come back to hear from them in particular. But we are going to hear from two community leaders who’ve been leading the charge in their community in Baltimore for ten, twenty years, even more, and who have recently entered into the electoral arena - running as candidates for the state assembly in Maryland, and they're running in districts in Baltimore.
This is Glen Ross and Andy Ellis who we're very honored to have with us tonight - that they have taken a few moments out of their hard-fighting campaigns. You know that what they're fighting is really what Greens are fighting for all over this country. Their campaign is really a beautiful example of how the social movement and the political fight come together at the grassroots in our campaign.
We will be coming back to hear from them in a moment. I want to just touch briefly on two recent events in the news which really underscore why it is that we need a Green Party, and the really desperate situation that we're looking at. So, one of these events we have heard sort of twenty-four seven non-stop. And that is about the debacle in the Supreme Court nomination, with the successful nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. I say it was a debacle because this is not what democracy looks like. This is not what the Supreme Court of the land should look like. This really entrenches further the power of corporate government in our Supreme Court - which has been a bipartisan problem for really the history of the court but particularly in recent decades, as the court has become more and more of a bastion for corporate and right wing politics.
It's important to note that one of the deciding votes here was actually a Democrat, and that Nancy Pelosi actually stated that the Democrats were going to be very warm and welcoming to the Kavanaugh supporters among the Democrats - they were not going to use their power to constrain their votes and to defeat him. Democrats have also helped place the conservative forces on the court: from Thomas to Alito to Roberts and Scalia. Even for Gorsuch - and Hillary Clinton, in fact, helped confirm Gorsuch to the federal court. And I might add that while Republicans have fought tooth-and-nail against Democratic appointments at all levels, obstructing appointments to the federal court as well as to the Supreme Court. The Democrats have actually been team players - assisting in the appointment of Republicans to the court, in caving to the resistance to the Democratic nomination, that is Merrick Garland, whom the Republicans blocked without the Democrats really hammering down to resist. You know, in general, the Democrats also expedited the Republican appointments to the federal bench - just a couple weeks ago when Schumer agreed to help the Republicans get their candidates on the federal bench.
People are often blaming and shaming independent political parties like the Greens for the Supreme Court, but let's just be clear, that this was a halfhearted fight by the Democrats - this was the Democrats fighting with at least one hand tied behind their backs, and in many ways the Democrats have been collaborating to create this disaster of a court. The other point I should mention - that the Democrats could have done many other things: they could have established an alternative commission when it became clear that the FBI was not going to do anything but a sham investigation of Brett Kavanagh’s - the allegations against him for potential sexual assault and attempted rape. The Democrats could have assembled the data, they could have established an alternative commission, appointed some security or FBI former investigators and have created really a power crunch, because there was plenty of evidence here that this was not a person that should be joining the Supreme Court. So don't for a minute allow for blame to be cast on Greens for the debacle on the Supreme Court.
Let me also just quickly note that the report by the United Nations Climate Commission, the IPCC, essentially verifies what Greens have been saying for the last ten years and more - that we have a climate emergency on our hands. Where the report was a real step forward - to declare this climate emergency - it doesn't go all the way to say what we need to do for that emergency - which is that we need to establish an emergency Green New Deal, a jobs program that ensures everyone has the right to a good job as part of this emergency transition, so that everyone has the right to a job as part of the solution which is decided at a community level as to how to make our communities sustainable - economically, socially, ecologically, in terms of our energy, and our public transportation, and agriculture.
So this is the blueprint that Greens have been talking about. And this again is why nobody is going to do this for us - this is why, as Greens, we are standing up loud and proud and strong, and resonating with our communities. And that is what I saw on my last eight days here on a road trip, when I drove along with one of our supporters in Green Uprising, and that is Sadie Fulton, and a shout-out and a big thank-you to her. A big thank-you also to Dave Schwab, as part of the back room effort here that makes this program possible for you tonight.
We drove around to candidates, to help lift up their voices as part of this grass-roots fight. We are being fairly greened-out in most states, because we are a threat. We are a threat because people are not happy campers with being thrown under the bus by both parties. And as horrific as Donald Trump is, it has not triggered a new wave of entry, there's not a whole new Dem-enter going-on, there’s a Dem-exit still going on and a Green-enter, but it's not a Dem-enter - because people recognize that the Democrats are the other half of the problem here. It’s been a two-headed corporate enterprise that’s been throwing working people under the bus - working people who, eighty percent of whom now are surviving paycheck-to-paycheck. The typical savings for a worker approaching retirement is five thousand dollars, which is essentially no retirement at all. And the vast majority of Americans could not afford a one thousand dollar emergency requirement for an urgent health care visit. So things are not going well, as evidenced in the Kavanaugh crisis and the climate crisis - the two parties are not solving this for us.
Just to mention a couple of the people who are running - there are so many good candidates, it was just staggering to see them up close and personal. I apologize for breezing in and out of town and not having the time to actually visit everyone. I want to refer people to the live-streams that are on our site on this Facebook page - of the whole slew of candidates, including New York, and Maryland, Ohio, and Michigan - those are the states that we were able to get to. You'll see a whole bunch of candidates - including the likes of Howie Hawkins and his team. Howie is now the only progressive left standing in the New York governor's race, after the Working Families Party has endorsed “you-know-who”, Andrew Cuomo - which tells you how far… this is sort of like the poster child of where you go with progressive Democratic politics: you just spend a lot of time and energy organizing within a system that will ultimately crush you. And in the words of Andrew Cuomo: “it amounted to no more than a ripple”, this so-called “blue wave” - where it's particularly strong in New York State, amounted to no more than a ripple at the end of the day.
But we have some real power-house candidates in New York, including Howie Hawkins, and Jia Lee, from the New York Teachers Union, one of the leaders of the grassroots fights going on in our public schools. Mark Dunlea, running for Comptroller, and Michael Sussman, for Attorney General: they did several really incredible live-streams. I was kind of blown away by what is going on there.
I was also blown away by what is going on in Maryland, doing an event, in particular with Ian Schlakman and Annie Chambers at the Frederick Douglass Homes, the public housing project which is a vision of grass-roots resistance and fight, where they fought back against Democrats and Republicans who were throwing them under the bus. Public housing has been under attack - they refused, and they fought back against the tripling of their rent which Ben Carson has inflicted on public housing across the country. And they fought back! And they got Annie Chambers, a former Black Panther, now an eighty-five year-old Lieutenant Governor Candidate with the Green Party. They fought back - and got her elected to the public housing board.
In the words of Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” And we see that fight going on in Baltimore, in Maryland, in Ohio, in Michigan. I’ll just mention one more candidate: Gina Luster, one of the founding members of Flint Rising, who helped organize the community push to shut down that poisonous toxic water supply. And it doesn't end there - Gina and the Greens are doing really wonderful work to flesh out the Flint story, because we haven't heard the whole thing. It's not only about the betrayal of the people of Flint, but it's also about some very suspicious and shady connections between fracking and the theft and poisoning of Flint. In a nutshell, there are suggestions that Flint was used as an excuse to create a whole new pipeline of water brought in from the Great Lakes - which is probably not motivated by seeking water for the people of Flint, but rather seeking a new, essentially privatized water supply on the backs of the people of Flint, so that the frackers could have an abundant supply of water to expand the poisonous practice of fracking throughout Michigan. So the story is not over yet in Flint, as the story is not over in our communities.
And with that, I want to turn to some amazing community fighters here, who have been fighting the good fight for a long time. Let me introduce first Glenn Ross, who is a community activist and has been head of his neighborhood community organization, has been recognized as an award-winning community organizer - not only for his community, but for bringing communities together to do absolutely unstoppable work on behalf of housing justice, and environmental justice, and prison reform, and to oppose the reckless and racist policing, and to support public schools. They are fighting the good fight. And let me just thank you so much Glenn for doing what you’re doing and sharing your time tonight. And I want to introduce also Andy Ellis, who has also been a community fighter - I don't think he's been on the ground and on the job for quite as long as Glenn Ross has, but he has been coming up to speed here over the past decade or so, I believe. The two of them are dynamos who are running as a team in a district that is really the poster child of oppression: racial, economic, housing, police, criminal injustice - you name it. These are the red-lined, disinvested-from communities that are really the heart of our struggle in America.
So let me just allow you guys to each say a few words to get us started, and then I’ll throw a few questions at you that I think that our viewers will be interested in. And let me also just ask our viewers right off here, to please “Like” and share this conversation so we can overcome the silencing and the censorship that has been directed towards communities of struggle, and the left in general and Greens. “Like” and share this conversation and please post your questions and your comments for us. So, take it away Glenn and Andy, if each of you can just give us a few words about why you're running and what you hope to achieve in this race.
Glenn Ross: Thank you Jill; the reason why I am running is because I have forty years of experience working under three different mayors here in Baltimore City, and working with labor organizations all over the city, but I kept seeing social injustice on many different levels, and it felt like the politicians were just not addressing it. I created a home office and started dealing with a lot of these problems. I realized that this city, in my opinion, is afraid of coalitions, afraid of people working together. I was successful forming one of the largest coalitions here in Baltimore City, called the Coalition for Beautiful Neighborhoods. We actually sued the city and settled out-of court over illegal billboards advertising alcohol and tobacco targeting black and poor neighborhoods, and formed the Liquor Board Coalition. We also noticed that certain neighborhoods were denied a lot of privileges, and were successful in working with college students in doing an exhibit called “Investigating the Creation of the Ghetto”.
We showed how poor neighborhoods and ghettos are created - and the Democrats act like they don’t even understand what is going on. So after forty years of doing this, winning a lot of awards and titles, I felt that maybe it is time for me to run for office, and to make these changes where it needs to be, in Annapolis. There’s too many laws that are not being passed, lobbyists have control over some of these incumbent politicians, and it needs to be put to a stop, and I think that going Green Party is the way to do it.
Jill Stein: Very exciting, and we will come back to some things you said there in a moment, I want to give Andy a moment to lay out his trajectory here and your goals in this race.
Andy Ellis: Great, and thank you Jill - I appreciate it. I moved to Baltimore in 2005 in order to run a program that taught young people how to advocate for themselves and their communities. That was the Baltimore Urban Debate League, and now I'm privileged enough to get to see some of my students at Annapolis, and DC, and in City Hall advocating for social, racial, and economic justice. And you know I've often times been a person who is behind the scenes, but I heard a lot of them saying “we need somebody at Annapolis that is gonna come and fight for the things that you taught us to fight for”. And when I looked around the state where we have a Democratic supermajority in both houses of our legislature that is decades long, that finds it easier to expand mandatory minimums to fifteen years than they do to pay fifteen dollars an hour, I realized that my work behind the scenes building the state Green Party had to get out there and fight with Glenn. I had been Glenn’s campaign manager, and I was more than happy to stand behind him and fight and do what we needed, but he said: “I want you alongside of me, not behind me”. So we decided to team up and go for two of the three seats in this multimember district that we have here, and we've been running a strong campaign, and we are trying to model the kind of coalition that we think needs to exist, that breaks down the lines, or breaks down the ways that they are trying to divide us. We're running as a team, as a coalition, and as the Green Team in the 45th District. We are ready to make a change, and to change that game - because we know we can’t afford more of the same.
Jill Stein: Awesome, really exciting. You know you pointed out that there is a Democratic supermajority that’s been there for decades; the Democrats could pass any law and override any veto - but they are not. Baltimore and Maryland are hurting - in many ways Baltimore is sort of one of the poorest cities out there, a poster child of police violence and corruption. As you are out there in the community, as you have been, long before this race - what are you hearing? Because the media, the mainstream media, and the myths out there, are that people in these Democratic cities are devoted to the Democratic Party, and that you are tilting at windmills. To think: we're forever criticized as Greens for daring to run. It's been characterized as betraying especially poor people in communities of color that we dare to put them at risk for a so-called “stolen election”. How are you reading the will of the communities, how much are the communities wedded to the Democratic party? How grateful are they to the Democrats for protecting them from terrible abuse that Republicans might heap on them?
Glenn Ross: I think that too many people in the community kind of think that it is hopeless, that they cannot beat the Democrats. But there are a lot of people, the Glenn Rosses, Andy Ellises that throughout Baltimore City, especially in this district - except we are not looked-upon as heros in our neighborhoods, to the Democrats we are troublemakers. So a lot of them have seen the negative things that have happened to us as leaders, but we have accomplished more than what so many of the politicians have done. If you look at my website you’ll see a changing of certain behaviours of city agencies approving uninhabitable houses for section eights and putting poor minority young ladies in there with children, but the properties happened to be owned by city agency heads and politicians. This should never happen.
So these people here, these neighbors, they know something is wrong but they really don't see - haven’t had the opportunity to have a real party to come up and run candidates against the Democrats. And today you have one. I’ve been a Green ever since 2004, I ran for city council, so people here watch people like me overcome obstacles and be successful at helping to stabilize not only my neighborhood, but neighborhoods around the city. So people are seeing change, the last city council election proved it - with all these young Democrat councilpeople that won seats. This city as a whole is tired - we deal with the most powerful politicians in Annapolis - I grew up with all of them, we are all from the same neighborhood, with family values, community pride and spiritual guidance - and somewhere along the line they lost this. But it is still occuring in my neighborhood with its own values and we need to bring these values back here to this district, this city, and I strongly believe we can see this.
Jill Stein: Yeah - take it away Andy:
Andy Ellis: I totally agree. When I talk to people, and let them know that they have a choice in the general election, they are excited to know. People like choices, it's one of the foundational parts of actually living in a democracy - is that you get to have choices in who you elect. One of the things that I say, and this is applies across the board, is we should use all of the elections that our tax dollars pay for in order to choose who our representatives are. And that usually starts a pretty good conversation with people who are more than willing to vote for a different party - they just want to see that party be real and they want to see the work being done, and they want to know that it's real. They do not want to throw their vote away - but I try to convince people that they are investing their vote in a future where justice has a chance. One of the things that I like, when I joined the party, I joined in 2015 because I looked around after the uprisings in Baltimore, and I said: “we can’t change everything simply by working within the confines of the one-party-rule that we have had in this city since the 1960s”.
There are some Democrats that are working for justice, and working for a change in our city - but we can’t have one shot at some of these long entrenched incumbent folks who aren’t working for that - they are working for the corporations, and they are working for the Annapolis bosses, because they’ve stopped having to care about the people in their district. And people know when they are not cared about. People understand it.
And so we've knocked on thousands of doors during this election, and we're running an unabashedly Green Party campaign. We tell people that it's time for change; we tell people that we’re a different party; we hand out information about the ten key values; and we talk to them about why the things that they want and that they need have not been taken care of by what should've been the most powerful Democratic force in the entire state of Maryland. And people are ready, people are ready to listen, people are ready to go. For me, I have always looked at it as a 10 to 12 year program where we run races in order to establish name recognition, party recognition, and issue recognition. And over time we become the second party in places that have become a one party state. As one of our former candidates, Bill Barry, likes to say: it’s like North Korea - we have elections, but they don’t matter - and we need to change that. People are ready, people know that they need to have a choice. One thing I’ll say is a measure of success on this: in my part of the district, the city council district has had Greens run there four cycles in a row. So when I talk to voters they're already used to checking in the voter guides to see what the Green candidate has to say. So they understand that there are choices in some cases and some parts of that area - and that's a testament to the success of running campaigns as the voters get in the habit of looking to see whether or not there are Greens running in the race.
The last thing I'll say about this, we have these terrible signs here that the Democratic Party put up, that say “Vote for the Democrats” - they don’t say which candidate, they don’t say why, they are just ugly yellow signs that say “Vote for the Democrats”. They are so insulting to people that whenever I see one of those out there I knock on the door of every single neighbor and say: “Doesn't that insult you that they don’t even want to tell you who the person is that they want you to vote for?” And usually the neighbors are like: “that is the stupidest thing, we want to know who our candidates are and what they stand for and not just ‘vote for the Democrats’.”
Jill Stein: Great! And I want to thank you, because what you are describing is really, I think, it's this sort of “spirit of revolt” - there really is a Green uprising going on. Or shall we say there is an uprising, and it's very ready to go Green; and it kind of knows that it does not have a home in the Democratic Party. I want to remind all our viewers out there that what we're hearing, in this on-the-ground trailblazing - you guys are trailblazers in Baltimore, but you are really trailblazers for the Green revolt that's going on all over all over the country. So I again want to remind people to please “Like” and share this conversation and post your questions, which we will get to in a little bit.
I want to go back to you, Glenn, to ask you to say just a little bit about what are the different policies that you are representing that the Democrats are not - can you say some of the things that you are offering to people, that you would fight for in the legislature, where the Democrats will not go?
Glenn Ross: My fight has always been around fighting any social injustice, but especially around environmental and health issues, and especially in poor neighborhoods. Once again, as I said earlier, it seems that poor neighborhoods and ghettos are created - and they make money off of our poor neighborhoods. But when you talk about the environment: in 2007 I created the Urban Environmental Toxic Tour, because I think there is a terrible disconnect when you talk about the environment, especially in the poor and minority neighborhoods. But I’ve done these tours all over the city, Baltimore, just exposing social injustice, and also I personally did a tour here in East Baltimore and did it among the best medical practitioners in the world, with Johns Hopkins Medicine Institutions: Hopkins East Baltimore Campus, Hopkins Bayview, Hopkins Home Campus - because inside and outside that triangle we have some of the worst health disparities than certain areas in the state of Maryland. We should be the healthiest community in the world. We have so many hospitals here that have universities and colleges attached - and they have to do research somewhere. I have never heard of anyone doing research on a healthy community or healthy family - you need a sick community. Do we blame the hospitals? No, we have to look at the politicians that allow these types of practices to continue. So when we get to Annapolis, these are the types of policies I want to see changed, that negatively affect our living environment here in this district and also in Baltimore City.
Jill Stein: Great! Do you want to say a few words about that as well Andy? What are some of the other policies and solutions that you are offering that people are not going to hear from Democrats?
Andy Ellis: Sure! And actually, I think that some of these ring well with the way that you introduced this, because our opponent, delegate Cheryl Glenn, who is head of the Baltimore City delegation, and is endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, is touting a bill next year that will move Maryland toward 50% renewable electricity generation. We are suggesting a bill that would move Maryland toward 100% renewable electricity generation, because we know, that before that report came out, we can’t wait. Right? And we need to make the plan in order to have a just transition right now, so that we know we're not planning half-way, and we're not holding out for lobbyists to be able to come out and sort of get their part of the pie in a couple of years when we have another bill. So, one of those is a full solution to the climate crisis - a hundred percent renewables as soon as possible. Another one of those is a Green New Deal for East Baltimore that allocates eight hundred and fifty million dollars in order to clean up the lead that is killing and poisoning the children in our city. Now Cheryl Glenn, at a forum that I was at recently, said that she's made some progress on that, and surely enough, there’s been some state money allocated to it - but these are the type of halfway solutions the Democrats are offering in our city, things that still allow them to say “we are making progress” while children are dying of lead.
Let me talk about another one: auto insurance is a really interesting issue, because in the State of Maryland it is legal to charge people different rates based on education, gender, location, and other non-driving factors. Now, in 2017, a bill came in front of the committee that both of our opponents sat on, that fixed that for women whose spouse had died, a widow’s penalty was removed, but what they didn’t remove was the woman’s penalty. What we would do is remove all non-driving factors from auto insurance because people in my zip code can average five hundred dollars more a year than people in the zip code next door to us - and as a city whole we pay on average five to six hundred dollars more per year, and if you're a working family on a less than fifteen dollars an hour job, that’s devastating. And so, we would we would pass something that prohibited that. Plus we would set up a state insurance pool that allowed people that are lower income folks to take part in the state auto insurance pool because we do believe that as long as there are cars and there are criminal penalties for not having insurance, that we need to be able to make sure that low income workers have access to it. To me that would be a pilot, and a step towards getting the insurance companies entirely out of the business, and letting the state do the minimum level of it. Auto insurance is a fascinating one because it is a pocket-book issue, but when we look at the donations that our opponents get, they get donations from the big insurance companies, so they're not at all interested in doing anything that would get the insurance companies out. So what we end up with is: we end up with a system where people are going to jail because they can’t get auto insurance, or because their auto insurance lapses, and the State of Maryland charges criminal penalties for driving without auto insurance.
The third one is bail bonds. So, the State of Maryland recently had an appeals court ruling that said that cash bail was unconstitutional because it treated people of different incomes differently: poor people were staying in jail, rich people were able to get out, not even rich people, middle class people were able to get out. So there is a bill that came before the general assembly that would have created funding for community-based alternative pretrial detention. So the grassroots community organizations would have the opportunity to apply for state funding in order to do pre-trial detention. Now, that bill got killed because our other opponent, Thomas Branch, who is the house whip, takes the third most amount of money of any legislator of the State of Maryland from the bail bonds industry. And even after one of our other Senators across town got indicted and charged by the FBI with taking bribes from the bail bonds industry, this delegate, Thomas Branch continued to take money from them. The problem that we have in Maryland is that the Annapolis bosses and the lobbyists who write their checks have the power in the state - and Democrats are no longer trying to serve the people of the district, but are instead making policy and provisions that are halfway solutions because their corporate bosses and their corporate donors tell them to, and frankly we are just not going to do that - we are going to put the people over the power and the profit.
Jill Stein: Awesome! We have gotten a bunch of comments coming in, and there's lots more to talk about, but I want to be sure to just get some of our viewer comments here and let me just ask folks again to please “Like” and share and post your thoughts and your comments and questions.
Patricia says: “Green is the only way forward - both major parties are corporate owned and don't represent us. People, Planet, and Peace over profit.”
Joshua says: “We've been working on consistently running Green candidates as well here in Jackson County, Illinois. It does help reassure people that we are serious."
I think that speaks for Greens all over the country now.
Dave says: “I've been voting Green ever since I left the army. I'm ready to see a Green movement thrive - Peace, Equality and the Environment.”
Zailon says: “Thank you all so much brave Greens, thank you Jill, Andy, Glenn - keep up the good fight!”
Abdul says: “Bail bonds, what a racket.”
Albert says: “Money for jobs, education, and environment - not profit, greed and endless wars.”
Jill Stein: Let me just ask folks to go ahead and post your questions. While people are doing that, I wonder if you guys can say a little bit about your strategy on the ground. I know you've been knocking on an incredible amount of doors and I have to ask you: Are you doing this full time? Do you have day jobs? How do you knock on so many doors? So tell us a little bit about what you're doing and how it is that you're able to do that.
Glenn Ross: Did you say days off? [laughter] We are definitely out there for the reception of people, who are very interested. A lot of people, when we mention that we are running for office, they may turn away, but soon as we show we are with the Green Party it’s like a light turns on - they want to listen to us because it is something different - we are sending a different message. The other thing is that, you look in the southern sector of the Forty-Fifth District, you have a lot of lower-income families that don’t have much money, so they really can’t contribute to these campaigns. But our thing is, when we get enough funding in, we can send those pieces of literature out to them, we can do commercials and other things like this to better reach them and educate them. Also sharing with them - they don't realize that they can vote across political lines - so my question to them is this: one, are you voting for the political party, or voting for the better candidate? So the reaction back from them is very interesting - it gives them something else to think about.
Andy Ellis: For me, I had a full-time job up until 2015 working with a major research corporation. I started on the call center floor, and my boss saw that I had some talents beyond just dialing the phone, and pulled me up. But in 2015, my wife and I decided it was really important to do this Green Party work, and to invest in it. So I decided to go part time at that point, with her - not just her blessing, but she's a Green as well. She's active on the campaign - she’s my treasurer right now, and she's been a city school teacher for over twenty years, and she certainly understands that we need a break in this. So we made a sacrifice - of two days of work a week, so that I can do Green Party building work, because we understand that to do this type of thing does really require dedicated day-in-day-out work, and we're privileged enough to be able to make that sacrifice. We don't have children and we have decent jobs, so the two of us decided to have sacrificed half-pay for three years for that job in order to do this work.
We do knock on a lot of doors, and we're targeting some groups of folks that I think are left behind by typical political races. A lot of our races, a lot of our campaigns here in Baltimore are decided by the Democratic primaries as the only election. But in a district like ours that has about seventy thousand registered voters and about six thousand people voting in the Democratic primary - what you end up with is a small sliver - the ten percent I call them - making the decision on who gets to represent us in Annapolis.
Now there's another ten thousand people who vote in general elections but don’t vote in primary elections. So our strategy has really been to focus on those folks, because we think they are most ignored by the Democrats that are in power right now, because they don't vote for them - but they vote. So there is a place that we can focus on and expand the electorate with the set of issues and the set of people who are talking to them, that otherwise aren’t talked-to. We would like to be able to get into talking to the people who don't vote at all, and the never-voters, and the irregular voters, and those types of things, but we just don't have the person power with the two of us and a few other people to reach fifty-five thousand people who are so disenfranchised at this point that they don’t regularly vote. So we're focusing on building our power on the ground in that group of people that is what we think is the sweet spot for political change in the City of Baltimore, which is people who vote but don't care for the Democrat ticket.
Jill Stein: I want to throw in right now, after your discussion about how dedicated you are, how you are making incredible lifelong sacrifices, and they didn't just start with this election - you know it makes the point that we need to support our candidates. And I want people to please consider going to the website, checking these guys out, and making a contribution. You can do that at https://www.greenteam45.com
Throw in what you can. There are a lot of people out there who will see this, typically we have several thousand people who see our live streams, and this one is looking like it's getting pretty good attention right now. Please consider just two bucks, or five bucks, or whenever you can, if it is fifteen or fifty. This is how we move forward, by getting traction here at the grassroots - and by bringing in people who were locked out. Remember there were about fifty million people who voted for Clinton, and about fifty million who voted for Trump - a little more than that, maybe fifty two million - but there were one hundred million who did not vote at all, who basically voted with their feet instead. Politics-as-usual is not helping us, it's hurting us. We have to build that alternative and it's our candidates on the ground who are really doing that work. So I want to encourage people to please go check out this web site - support your local Greens, but throw in a little for Greens that aren’t in your locality - because if we get behind our powerhouse candidates we are going to see a lot of us breaking through.
I have one more question here from a viewer, which is from Greta, who asks: “What are your ideas about converting to renewable sustainable energies in Maryland or in your communities?” Do you each want to each just give a couple thoughts about that because I know you have both been very involved.
Andy Ellis: First off, we need to make a plan in order to have clean and renewable energy - electrical generation throughout the State of Maryland. That’s the bill I mentioned earlier which would mandate a hundred percent clean renewable electrical generation. The other area that is really important is transportation. Our roads and our driving habit is choking us, literally - in neighborhoods like in Baltimore City where we have some of the highest asthma rates in the country. It is, in part because of our transit structure and our roads. So we need to invest not just in electrical generation that is renewable, but also transit which is a hundred percent renewable-based, that is mass-transit. So that when we have a good bus system or a good light rail system or a good blended system, it is running in a way that is sustainable, renewable, and doesn't kill the children who happen to live near that transit line.
Jill Stein: Great.
Glenn Ross: Another part of that also is to better educate especially lower-income people and minority people who really do not understand the real full impact of environmental issues - I think there is a terrible disconnect in the way that they teach our kids about environmental health issues. That is why I came up with the “Urban Environmental Health-related Issues”. Too many times people come in and talk to us about environments, thinking about vacation resorts, snow-capped mountains, the salmon, the wildlife, kayaking… In our neighborhood we don’t kayak. We need to educate people about the mold and mildew that is in the basement, bathroom, under the kitchen sink - how demolition is done, our landfills... We have to better educate these communities about the environment as a whole, and then they can better understand the bigger picture when we get to talking about fracking and other things like that.
Jill Stein: Awesome! Well great, I think we're about out of time for tonight, and I want to again thank you so much Glenn Ross and Andy Ellis for joining us, but especially for the incredible work that you're doing as trailblazers for people, planet, and peace over profit - starting right here and now in our communities. And I want to encourage people again to go to the website here https://www.greenteam45.com and support these candidates, support your local Greens - and you know just remember that we're not gonna get where we need to go when we have crises like Brett Kavanaugh and the climate crisis coming down, crashing around us. “Same-old-same-old” isn't gonna fix that. We are the ones we've been waiting for - we are the only ones who are saying no to corporate money and saying yes to the power of the people. We have that power: in the words of Alice Walker, “The biggest way that people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with.” We've got it, these candidates know we’ve got it; together we are going to be unstoppable as we go forward. So thank you so much for tuning in tonight and we will see you next week - and keep fighting. Thanks so much.