Green Party of California

Democratic Party leadership accused of 'race and class bias' by black gubernatorial candidate Barbara Becnel; She re-registers with Green Party


SAN FRANCISCO (July 20, 2006) - Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate and death penalty foe Barbara Becnel - the first black woman to run for governor in California - announced this week that she has left the Democratic Party because the "Democratic leadership is allowing race and class bias to dishonor the Democratic Party."

With Green Party candidate for Governor Peter Miguel Camejo by her side, Becnel signed a voter registration form switching to the Green Party Tuesday night. She is second high-profile person of color to switch to the Green Party of late - Nativo Lopez, state and national president of the influential Mexican American Political Association, has also re-registered Green, the failure of the Democratic Party to address the concerns of Latinos."

In a letter to Democratic Party chairman Art Torres (available upon request), Becnel said the Democratic Party "has transformed itself from Dixiecrats to Richiecrats - money counts, equality of treatment does not. This is shameful. The message to us everyday folks from today's Democratic Party is that the votes of black, brown, poor and middle class people matter to the Democratic Party leadership only because the Party needs those votes. But...ordinary, non-millionaire members of the electorate do not (really) matter."

She said the party refused to invite her to events, and when asked to speak by the Progressive Democrats of America at the State Democratic Convention, she was later "uninvited" by the state party leadership.

"I can no longer support a party that doesn't fundamentally support...issues that are important to people like me: ending the death penalty (and) three-strikes and the participation of California's National Guard in the Iraq war. I plan to tell my story of discrimination and bias to every person of color with whom I come in contact, encouraging them to leave this out-of-step Democratic Party and become a Green," she said.

"Barbara Becnel is a breath of fresh air in the Green Party. As a fellow activist and 'sister,' I welcome her with open arms, knowing that with her know-how and commitment, the Green Party is better equipped to fight for justice in the black community," said Donna Warren, who is black and the Green Party's Lt. Governor candidate.


Crescenzo Vellucci, State Press Office, 916.996.9170,
Sara Amir (Los Angeles), 310.270.7106,
Dr. Bob Vizzard (Sacramento), 916.206.8953,
Daniel Brezenoff (Southern California), 310.422.2211,
Susan King (San Francisco), 415.823.5524,

The Green Party of California
PO Box 2828
Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437