SUNY Fredonia hosted the leading candidate for the Green Party presidential nominee, Dr. Jill Stein, Wednesday night in McEwen Hall.
Stein has won eight of eight Green Party primary contests against contenders Roseanne Barr and Kent Mesplay, both of California.
Stein voiced support for a broad range of issues. "We're not getting there on climate, we're not getting there on the environment, and we're not getting there for people and the economy. We're going consistently in the wrong direction. We need to be able to deal with the political establishment." On political affiliation, Stein noted, "Most people say they don't support either political party."
OBSERVER Photo by Shirley Pulawski
Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein addresses a group Wednes-day night in McEwen Hall on the SUNY?Fredonia campus.
Stein sought to differentiate herself from the established political left.
"It's not just the Republicans. A lot of people want to say that this is the Republicans, that these are the policies of George W. Bush, but what we found actually, is that the policies of George Bush we were so upset about are actually being embraced by the current administration," she said.
Stein was fiercely critical of the Obama Administration's policies on energy, the environment, banks and corporate money in politics. "The Wall Street bailouts - Barack Obama was one of the big supporters of those bailouts before he came into office, but then once in office, that $800 billion TARP bailout became what?" she asked. "It became trillions. What was $800 billion became, depending on how you count it, became between $12 trillion and $16 trillion worth of free loans and giveaways to the big banks and others responsible for this trouble, and what happens to students?" Stein asked.
"Zip. We're bailing out the banks who caused the problem, and abandoning students." Stein supports complete student loan forgiveness. "Previously, we used to provide free education. Public higher education used to be nearly free. It was very low cost, but about 10-15 years ago, the costs started to really go up," and went on to suggest that the debt carried by students into their working lives could hamper the economy since it's money which could be spent elsewhere.
Stein had a question solely for the students present. "What did you do wrong? Do you know?" she asked and paused. "You didn't hire lobbyists. That's what drives policies. It's lobbyists and campaign contributions."
A 1979 graduate of Harvard Medical School, Stein is a licensed medical doctor. "I'm trained in medicine. When people ask me what kind of kind of medicine I'm practicing, I say I'm practicing political medicine, because it's the mother of all illnesses. Unless we fix that one, we're not going to fix any of the other problems that are really pushing us into crisis."
Stein supports Medicare for all, and cited her experience as a clinical physician regarding health care.
"This health system isn't working. There are people who really need care who can't afford it. You might have an insurance policy, but then you can't meet your copay or your deductible. That's a broken health care system," she said.
Identifying many health problems as environmentally related, Stein suggested curbing environmental pollution could alleviate these illnesses.
"There are a lot more people getting sick who didn't used to be sick," she said. "Suddenly, we have this epidemic of attention deficit disorder, and asthma and behavior problems, and cancer, and a lot of stuff started happening that wasn't here at this level before. It wasn't there when I was growing up and the statistics confirm that."
Some of her remarks drew enthusiasm from the audience.
"On the auto bailouts. What did we get? We've got an industry that is booming now. Who is booming? The CEOs are booming. What happened to the workers? Their wages got cut," she declared, at which several audience members applauded.
She continued, "Banks are making bigger profits than ever. The stock market is booming. What's happening to worker's wages? They continue to go down. The jobs that are coming back are low wage, insecure, poor benefits jobs. That's not a recovery. That's not a recovery that works for people."
On jobs and economic policy, Stein also had sharp criticisms of recent policies.
"We're seeing an increase in these right to work states. That's where you don't have a right to organize. It's basically the right to work for less, and this president, who was running on a kind of support of workers platform, hasn't said a peep about it, these right to work states. The fact is that they drive wages down, they drive down worker safety," she said.
Part of her platform and that of the Green Party also includes legalization of marijuana and other drug reforms to lift the burden of costs of incarceration and fewer convicts unable to find jobs.
"The war on drugs continues to put a lot of people of color in prison, even more than there were enslaved before the Civil War," she said before noting that what she characterized as racial and generational injustices were in need of reform, in addition to drug laws.
More information on Dr. Jill Stein can be found at and on the Green Party at
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