2017 Candidates

2017 State Party Elections

Candidates for Co-Chair (3 seats)

Don Alexander

Candidate for Co-Chair
At large, Torrington
Email: dalexander at dymotek dot com

My name is Don Alexander and I am asking for your vote for Co-Chairperson for the Green Party of Connecticut.

I believe that all the candidates for this office have the same basic beliefs when it comes to our party's 10 Key Values, although we may have different priorities for each of the values, but I believe that our goals for guiding the party going forward may be different, so that is what I will focus on.

I believe that our strategy over the last 20 years seriously cost us in the 2016 elections. Putting a large amount of time and resources into the Presidential and other federal elections has cost our party (local and national) in local and statewide elections. I firmly believe that Bonnie Troy would have won her race for District 135 State Representative last year if we had concentrated our resources in her election, along with a few other local elections. The smartest strategy for a young or smaller party to follow is to use its limited resources to win local and state elections before attempting to move into the national scene. If we had followed this strategy 20 years ago, we would have been much better prepared to make a huge impact, and possibly win, in last year's elections. Unfortunately, many people were not even familiar with the Green Party last year. We need to get back to basics and work on getting people elected to local and state positions.

We also need to recruit younger voters into the party by having a presence on every college campus in the state. Young voters on the whole have the same values as we do, but they have been discouraged from taking part in the political process by the corruption they see in elections today. We can give them a reason to get involved by focusing on local and state solutions to national issues, i.e. a state single-payer healthcare plan or tuition-free education at public colleges and universities. If we can offer them a progressive alternative to the two major parties and a forum in which they can work, they will get involved.

One of the questions I've been asked when running for State Representative has been how would I get anything accomplished if I got elected, as Greens have views to the left of both major parties. My answer to this question is that there are some Democrats and, surprisingly, Republicans that share our views on certain subjects and that we need to be willing to compromise to some extent to have some of our proposed legislation passed. For example, two of my major platforms are creating a single-payer healthcare plan for the state that allows women to keep total control of their own bodies and an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hr. If we could get the single-payer plan at the cost of having the minimum wage raised to only $13.50, for example, we need to be willing to accept this and get back to work again on the minimum wage and other issues. In other words, with limited resources we need to prioritize and pick our fights.

Finally, I mentioned prioritizing. What exactly are my priorities? Is there anything that I believe we cannot compromise on? Yes, there is. The one issue that I believe we can't give an inch on is the environment. With the damage we've already done and with the current administration's total disregard of the environment, we cannot afford to compromise for our children's sake. Following the environment, my top priorities are healthcare, wage equality and the minimum wage, education and the economy. All of our key values are important, but with limited resources, we must focus on key issues. Thank you for considering me for state Co-Chairperson.

Barbara Barry

Candidate for Co-Chair
Hartford Chapter
Email: roseberry3 at cox dot net

Nikki Byrne

Candidate for Co-Chair
Waterford Chapter
Email: nlbyrne3 at gmail dot com

My name is Nikki Byrne and I'm honored to announce my intention to run for Co-chair of the Connecticut Green Party. I will be graduating summa cum laude from the University of Saint Joseph in with my B.A. in English and Philosophy in May 2017. I plan to attend UCONN School of Law in the fall of 2017 to get my J.D. I worked as a legislative intern during the spring of 2015 at the Connecticut General Assembly. I spent my time at University working as a writing tutor and completing and presenting three independent research projects. Currently, I work as an office administrative assistant at RoseLake Property and Design, LLC in West Hartford, CT and hold the position of Secretary of the Waterford Green Party. My personal interests include reading, writing poetry, and spending time with my Guinea pigs.

As a future attorney, I am committed to upholding the ethical standards of the Green Party. As a queer individual and an active member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am committed to nurturing a diverse and respectful community within the Green Party where minority groups are not only included but celebrated. As Co-chair, I plan to strengthen the Green Party by fostering mutually beneficial relationships with other coalitions, so long as such relationships do not compromise any of the Green Party core values. I intend to strengthen the integrity of the Party by establishing clear Party goals and a comprehensive budget.

The main priorities of my agenda include:

  • Increased support for local and state Green Party candidates
  • Continued efforts to respect the autonomy of local chapters while increasing communication between chapters
  • Community outreach specifically intended to recruit new and diverse membership to revitalize and inspire the Party
  • The creation and maintenance of a respectful, unified environment with open discussions
  • Continued efforts to increase public awareness through fundraising, education, and activism

In conclusion, if elected Co-chair I intend to nurture the Green Party by creating a respectful environment, promoting collaboration, and celebrating diversity. My goal is to help the Green Party grow and create real change in Connecticut. I believe that my ideas and experience can help the Green Party reach its full potential.

Michael DeRosa

Candidate for Co-Chair
Hartford Chapter
Email: smderosa at cox dot net

Emily Garfinkel

Candidate for Co-Chair
Waterford Chapter
Email: emilyg195 at gmail dot net

My name is Emily Garfinkel, and I am seeking re-election for my second year as Co-Chair to the Green Party of Connecticut. I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Waterford, Connecticut chapter as well. In addition to my affiliations with the Green Party, I will be graduating from University of Connecticut in May with a B.A. in Political Science, and minors in French and Women’s Studies. I have interned for the past two legislative sessions with The Kowalski Group, a leading women’s health lobbying group in Hartford. I currently reside in Storrs, Connecticut and will be moving back to my hometown of Farmington post-graduation.

I want to bring a point of view to the party that will invite activists to the conversation. As Greens, we have a political conversation that is in dire need to be discussed on a more universal level. We have a demand for our voices to be heard, at the local, state, and national level. It is absolutely necessary that we engage our communities in the political conversation, and I see this as being the upmost importance.

As Co-Chair, I want to continue my commitment to collaborate with other non-profit organizations and political parties to ensure future success of Connecticut Greens. My strong point of interest that I want to continue this year is the support of new and growing chapters throughout the state. I want to put an importance on local elections, including both town councils to the state level. I am a firm believer that in order to create and pursue a true progressive agenda, we must begin from the grassroots up.

As a young Green myself, I am passionate about inspiring other young voters to know that we can be the change in the political system we want to see.

I do hope that you will support me on this journey to revive the Connecticut Green Party so we can make ideals become realities.

Rolf Maurer

Candidate for Co-Chair
Fairfield County Chapter
Email: maurer_rolf at yahoo dot com

Following on our collective efforts in 2016 to put Jill Stein on the state ballot as the Green Party's presidential candidate, I feel that the Green Party of Connecticut should build on this momentum to distinguish itself substantively from the name-brand Democrat/Republican mix.

With the extremist ideological blitzkrieg unleashed by the new administration in its first three months, alone, the Democrats need only mask the similar direction of their own policies (however differently packaged) on the environment, health care, foreign relations and other areas by now calling themselves "progressive".

As candidate for Co-Chair, I am eager to help promote the Green Party to voters on its own terms—not as "left of Democrat", or some other label confining it to the mainstream political spectrum, but as the one constructive alternative that offers effective, humane solutions to major problems by addressing underlying causes, rather than salving symptoms, or blaming victims.

Through online commentary, street corner public engagement, film screenings, speaker presentations and other party-sponsored activities, the GPCT can not only expand public awareness that there are more than two options for every issue, but explore what the real issues might be, as well.

Having served as Co-Chair for two terms and run for municipal and state positions, I believe the best way to achieve these goals is a renewed commitment to upholding the party's integrity against the erosive effects of cross-endorsement, reduction in the number of SCC meetings and other proposals that, as one of the state GP organizations with the most candidates in 2016, could jeopardize the future of the Green Party of Connecticut.

Jeff Russell

Candidate for Co-Chair
At large, Glastonbury
Email: k1xu at juno dot com

I want to begin with some important political history. I am old enough to remember a vibrant, dynamic, liberal wing in the Republican Party. Men like Nelson Rockefeller, Lowell P. Weicker Jr., and even Dwight D. Eisenhower were considered liberal Republicans.

Then the "Reagan revolution" put ideologue conservatives in a position of dominance in that party. The party not only stopped listening to liberals, they actively sought to drive them out of the party. Then they stopped listening to the moderates.

After a generation of listening only to self-reinforcing right wing rhetoric, the Republican Party has gone off the ideological deep end. We see the results of this ideological 'purification' in every word from Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway.

This is why I am dead set against any attempt to form a "new progressive party." Any party that listens only to one way of thinking will spiral into ideological insanity, given enough time.

The latest science tells us that conservative and progressive thinking really are two different ways of thinking. Conservatives and liberals actually process information differently, and the big surprise is, the differences are genetic.

I recognize that my own thought processes often lead me to the more radical edge of progressive thought. Knowing what I know about liberal and conservative thinking, whenever I find the most conservative members of the party disagreeing with me, I want to find out what the thought processes were that got them to that different conclusion. I want to know what they saw that I didn't see. I want to find out what I can learn from them on that issue.

I am just as firmly convinced of the existence of evolution as I am of the existence of gravity. My understanding of evolutionary processes lead me to hypothesize that the existence of these two genetic traits, present in every human population, have to provide a survival advantage to the community by existing in combination. There are more examples than today's Republican Party that show isolating one thought process from the other leads to disastrous results.

What is needed, in the political realm of the United States today, is a party that actively listens to both 'sides' of the political 'spectrum'. The Republicans stopped listening to anyone who could be called a moderate in the previous century. Today's Democratic Party isn't listening to anyone to the left of corporate moderates. This shines an intense spotlight on the fact that progressives are not being listened to by either "major" party. But, if we listen only to those the "major" parties are ignoring, we will make the same mistake they are making.

We need, need, to listen to each other. Not dismiss each other with derision and name calling. Face this fact; even though the majority of Greens here in Connecticut fall on the progressive side of the spectrum, there is nothing in our core values that a conservative thinker cannot agree with.

Abraham Lincoln insisted that his cabinet had an equal number of former Whigs and former Democrats. From the descriptions in Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "A Team of Rivals," Lincoln also crafted a group with a dynamic balance of liberal and conservative thinking.

As in 1852, both 'major' parties are failing to address the most important issues of the day. They are both blinded by subservience to the corporate oligarchy. They both refuse to see the genuine needs, let alone the best interests of, We the People.

And there are plenty of Republican and Democrats that are dissatisfied, disillusioned, even disgusted with the parties they have been a part of.

We need to listen to all of them: liberal, conservative, radical, moderate, Republican, Democrat, unaffiliated. We need to talk to all of them.

The conversation needs to be inclusive. Completely inclusive.

Baird Welch-Collins

Candidate for Co-Chair
Waterford Chapter
Email: bairdwelchcollins at gmail dot com

Candidates for USGP Representative (3 seats)

Michael DeRosa

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
Hartford Chapter
(See above)

Brian Gay

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
Hartford Chapter
Email: bgay1 at friars.providence dot edu

Having become disillusioned with both major parties in the US, Brian first became a supporter of the Green Party in 2012 when he learned about Dr. Jill Stein and her Green New Deal. He then joined the Green-Rainbow Party in his home state of Massachusetts and has been a registered Green ever since.

Brian moved to Connecticut in July of 2015 and quickly joined the CT Green Party.

As a representative to the National Committee, Brian seeks to stay abreast of the issues facing the national party so he can successfully relay that information to the local CT chapters while also giving voice to the concerns of CT Greens to the national party. His primary focus will be on successfully relaying information in order to enhance communication between the national and CT Greens.

Brian already has some experience with the National Committee from his role as the alternate for Lavender Caucus, and believes that this will facilitate his work as a representative for the CT state party.

Brian currently lives in East Hampton where he serves as a Justice of the Peace (2017-2020) and a member of the town's Clean Energy Task Force (2017). In his spare time he likes to garden, run and spend time w/ his partner and their two cats.

Joshua Steele Kelly

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
Waterford Chapter
Email: joshuasteelekelly at gmail dot com

Tim McKee

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
At large, Hamden
Email: timmckee321 at gmail dot com

Cora Santaguida

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
Fairfield Chapter
Email: corasantaguida at gmail dot com

Cora, a lifelong Connecticut resident, worked for the City of Stamford Mayor's Youth Services Bureau under Dannel Malloy. The MYSB collaborated with several nonprofits, including Domus, which is currently under fire for its Charter School program. In addition to being a part-time job coach for Domus' residential programs, she was an occasional job readiness skills instructor for youth at the Urban League's Stamford headquarters. Living with a disability in Stamford's notorious-for-crime West Side, a recipient (and sometimes non-recipient) of much needed State-funded resources and services, and formerly part of Stamford's chronically homeless population, she brings a "front line" perspective to the table. Recently, she was the CT Volunteer Coordinator for Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka's 2016 campaign, and she is currently Fairfield County Chapter Co-chair and working toward a masters degree in political science from Southern New Hampshire University.

Baird Welch-Collins

Candidate for CT Representative to the Green Party of United States
Waterford Chapter
(See above)

Candidates for Secretary (1 seat)

David Bedell

Candidate for Secretary
Fairfield Chapter
Email: dbedellgreen at hotmail dot com

I worked on the 1996 Ralph Nader campaign and am a founding member of the Green Party of CT. I have served as Secretary of the Fairfield County chapter, served one year as State Party Treasurer, and am currently webmaster for the party web site ctgreenparty.org. I have also run for public office and served as a Green Justice of the Peace.

In a professional capacity, I teach English to immigrants and international students from all parts of the world. I also worked for several years as executive secretary for a nonprofit organization, and I volunteer as vice president for Teachers Against Prejudice. I believe my language, communication, computer, and clerical skills qualify me to fulfill the duties of Secretary.

On the question of candidate cross-endorsement, I think we should stick with the current party bylaws, which require that any candidate running on the Green ballot line must be a registered Green Party member. Because we are still a relatively small party, we need to establish a clear identity and reputation with voters. Until we are as well-recognized as the major parties, with ballot access for most offices, I don't think we can afford to dilute our message by giving away our hard-won ballot lines to other party candidates. (On the other hand, if another party wishes to cross-endorse one of our candidates, then I would leave it up to the candidate to accept or reject the endorsement depending on local conditions.)

Ronna Stuller

Candidate for Secretary
New London Chapter
Email: rstuller at snet dot net/ronna at nlgreens dot org

A Green since 2004, I am the current chair and former secretary of the New London chapter and town committee. I'm a producer-host of our public access program "Thinking Green," which has aired weekly (9 months/year) since 2004, and I designed and maintain our website: www.nlgreens.org. I am a past member of the New London Board of Education and currently serve on the Planning & Zoning Commission. In 2011, in response to the city's attempt to sell parkland in a long-neglected low-income neighborhood, I became treasurer of the Friends of Riverside PAC and later, after the proposed sale was defeated in a dramatic referendum, cofounded – and serve as treasurer of – the Riverside Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization committed to the restoration, management and enhancement of Riverside Park, for the enjoyment of present and future generations. I also cofounded and serve as secretary of Re:public Ed, a new New London-based nonprofit which aims to empower the people of Connecticut to shape public education, equalize opportunities for students, and maintain a strong connection between school and community.

The Green Party offers a commonsense and humane political alternative to individuals disillusioned with the Republicans and Democrats, and the time has never been better to take advantage of this opportunity to grow our party! My goals as GPCT secretary are to improve SCC outreach – with the national party, state chapters and town committees, and individual Greens; to approve a budget that reflects our priorities and provides tangible support for local Green Party campaigns and other activities (including, but not limited to, liability insurance, voter data analysis, and sample bylaws and other documents); and to seek out greater involvement of youth and POC in our state party.

View NLGP-produced shows on our YouTube channel

Learn more about Riverside Park Conservancy

Learn more about Re:public Ed

Candidates for Treasurer (1 seat)

Chris Reilly

Candidate for Treasurer
Hartford Chapter
Email: cpr101 at hotmail dot com