Green Party of California

Greens, progressives pack theatre for Presidential Debate, hear 5 hopefuls and Ralph Nader talk about 'hope,' ending Iraq war


SAN FRANCISCO (January 14, 2008) - Those on the Green Party Presidential Ballot - speaking at a Green Party Presidential Debate here late Sunday before a near-capacity crowd of about 850 at the Herbst Theater - repeatedly asked progressives to work together to end the Iraq War now, enact universal single payer healthcare and fix global warming.

Those taking the stage called for "hope," and included five candidates: Democratic Party Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, "hip-hop" scholar and professor Dr. Jared Ball, actor/producer Jesse Johnson, environmental engineer Kent Mesplay and political activist Kat Swift. Four-time Presidential candidate Ralph Nader also spoke, but has not declared his candidacy. Independent Congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan was the moderator.

"The success of this event, organized in just a few weeks during the holidays, indicates voters, especially progressives, are turning away from phony progressives, and are looking for new choices. Our Presidential field is very diverse, with two women, two African-Americans and at least one with Native American ancestry," said Cres Vellucci, GPCA Press Secretary.

Among the comments by those on the ballot were:

  • Cynthia McKinney: "We need to ask some very tough questions: Who's country is this and what is it that we stand for," noting that the war needed to end now.
  • Dr. Jared Ball: "We have to develop a party that will not only put us out there in 2008, but every election cycle after that." He later said he would campaign for McKinney.
  • Dr. Kent Mesplay: "I do want to make the (major parties) sweat but I also want to change our life for the better."
  • Jesse Johnson: "This is an opportunity for voters to elect someone who actually does feel the pain of the common individual."
  • Kat Swift: "We're looking for non-traditional voters such as the punk anarchist movement, youth and vegans." Swift will turn 35 just before the Fall election.
  • (undeclared) Ralph Nader: "The two (major) parties have taken away democracy and our dreams, and hopes and justice. They've cut the heart and soul out of America and sold it to the global corporations."

After about 20 primaries in the next six months, Greens will hold a national nominating convention in Chicago in July where they will choose their Presidential candidate.


Crescenzo Vellucci, State Press Office, 916-996-1970,
Susan King (San Francisco), 415-823-5524,

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