Dr. Jill Stein is a pioneering environmental health advocate, as well as a mother, physician, teacher, and community leader. Her record of public service and passionate advocacy for healthy communities makes her an exceptional candidate for governor.

For years, Jill Stein has been a leader in drawing the connection between clean environments and healthy communities. She is the author of two widely acclaimed reports, “In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development” and “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging,” which promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from harmful chemical exposures. She has presented her teaching program “Health People, Healthy Planet,” to numerous government, public health and medical conferences. It links human health, climate security and green economic revitalization.

Jill Stein began advocating for the environment as a human health issue when she realized that politicians were failing to protect children from toxic threats revealed by current science. She played a key role in efforts to protect women and children from mercury contamination by helping to pass tighter regulations on the dirtiest coal plants in Massachusetts, and helping to preserve the state’s moratorium on new trash incinerators. Having seen firsthand the power of big money to prevent critical health protection, Stein advocated for the Clean Elections Law to establish publicly-funded elections. Massachusetts voters passed the Clean Elections Law by a 2-1 margin, but the state legislature later repealed it in an unrecorded voice vote.

Jill Stein’s first foray into electoral politics was in 2002, when the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party recruited her to run for governor. In a five-way debate that year, she was widely acknowledged as the winner for her clarity and knowledge of the issues. In a 2004 three-way race for state representative, she garnered more votes than the Republican candidate. She ran for statewide office again in 2006, earning over 350,000 votes for Secretary of State. In 2008, she helped formulate the “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative calling for renewable energy and green jobs, which won 81% of the vote in the districts where it appeared on the ballot. She has been elected twice as a town meeting representative in Lexington.

This year, Jill Stein is running for governor on a platform of pragmatic Green solutions to problems like unemployment, unfair taxes, faltering schools, and a broken health care system. As governor, she would seek alternatives to her predecessors’ failed attempts to attract big business by sacrificing labor and environmental standards. She would create incentives for small, locally owned businesses to thrive, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy. She would take action to fix an unfair tax system that makes lower- and middle-income people in Massachusetts pay at twice the rate of the highest income bracket.

As a teacher, Jill Stein understands the importance of quality public education. She would fight the privatization schemes and bureaucratic power grabs that threaten public education, and work to ensure that all public schools are fully funded and accountable to their communities. She would also reverse the escalation of fees and tuition at public universities, which has threatened to price higher education out of reach for young people from low-income families.

Massachusetts’ health care system is still plagued with problems, despite its vaunted 2006 reform package that foreshadowed the 2010 national health insurance reform. The state’s healthcare mandate forces people to buy expensive, stripped-down insurance plans that don’t protect health or financial security when serious health problems occur. As governor, Jill Stein would extend affordable coverage to all by moving Massachusetts to a Medicare-For-All system, which would save billions by cutting out the insurance companies’ red tape. She would also help people lead healthier lifestyles by supporting urban agriculture, farm-to-school programs, local organic farming, and other programs to reduce health threats and ensure clean air, clean water, and nutritious food for all. Her plan to encourage healthy living would not only improve quality of life, it would also save billions on health care annually.

The November, 2010 race is shaping up to make Jill the sole challenger to three candidates widely regarded as business-as-usual insiders — in an anti-incumbent year. Specifically she is likely to face Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill, and Republican Charlie Baker, three candidates who share very similar positions on most key issues. (Both the Democrat and Republican are likely to rout lesser known and relatively unfunded primary election rivals.) In a four-way race, Jill Stein could potentially be elected governor with as little as 26% of the vote, which translates to roughly 800,000 votes. This is not beyond reach considering the 18% of the vote she won in her race for Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. Stein refuses to take lobbyist money, and vows to end the “pay-to-play” politics that dominates the state legislature. Her campaign is eligible for 1-to-1 public matching funds for every dollar raised over $125,000, meaning that as soon as she raises $250,000 from supporters, she’ll be able to mount a half-million-dollar campaign. Along with her running mate, community activist and veterans advocate Rick Purcell, she plans to mobilize thousands of grassroots volunteers across the state to bring their message of a healthy green future to the people of Massachusetts.

To find out more about Jill Stein’s campaign and how you can help, check out her website at JillStein.org.

Originally posted on GreenChange.org

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