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December 20, 2017

Green Party wants you to run for office, Philly residents

Politics Elections
Carroll - Clintonville Shantytown Cheri Honkala Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Cheri Honkala, activist and anti-poverty advocate on the grounds of Kensington's pop-up "Clintonville Shantytown", Wednesday, July 27,2016.

Going green in 2018? Not just as a voter, but as a candidate?

The Green Party of Philadelphia wants to know. The party has issued a "call for candidates," seeking progressive Philly residents to run for office next year.

“The Green Party is especially interested in interviewing those who have been traditionally excluded from running as candidates for the two corporate political parties," Chris Robinson, Green Party Membership Secretary, said in a press release Tuesday.

Robinson said the party is looking for candidates who support its 10 "key values," which are built on four "pillars": grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice.

The party thrust itself into the city's political scene earlier this year on the back of Cheri Honkala, the longtime community advocate and 2012 vice presidential candidate on Jill Stein's ticket.

In a special election, Honkala ran for the open seat in North Philadelphia's 197th Legislative District. As a write-in candidate, she ultimately lost to Democrat Emilio Vazquez, who ran a write-in campaign when the party's original candidate failed to meet a residency requirement.

Both Honkala and the local Republican Party filed suit, challenging the results of the election and alleging voter fraud. The litigation is pending, but Attorney General Josh Shapiro has filed charges against four election board members for allegedly intimidating voters and casting fake ballots.

While Honkala's campaign gained much local media attention due to her national profile, her campaign — at least according to the reported returns of the March election — didn't produce at the ballot box. She only received 282 votes out of 2,681 cast.

In its push for the 2018 cycle, the local Green Party appears to be hoping for potential upsets like some recent electoral surprises in the city from progressive candidates, the most notable example of which being district attorney-elect Larry Krasner, a longtime civil rights attorney.

"Most Green Party candidates will not be elected on their first campaign for office, but there have been surprises in Philadelphia when a dynamic candidate backed by vigorous volunteers has unseated an incumbent from a corporate party," local Green Party Chair Galen Tyler said.

The party is focusing on state legislative districts for the 2018 cycle. Robinson noted candidates for House of Representatives must be at least 21, and Pennsylvania Senate candidates must be 25. Any candidate must have been a U.S. and Pennsylvania citizen for at least four years, and a resident of the district in which he or she is running for one year.

In Pennsylvania, the party has eight elected officials, but none in the state legislature. Robinson said candidates will have a "soap box" to raise issues important to them and gain recognition.

"In addition, they will be able to pressure the incumbent and give voters a choice, which is so often lacking in Philadelphia," he said.

The party is asking anyone interested in running to contact Robinson by calling (215) 843-4256 or emailing