Kat Swift on the evolution of the Texas Green Party
Published: June 13, 2012
A debilitating car accident has relegated one of the Green Party's key organizers (some would, and have, called her the party's conscience) to the sidelines this election cycle after several years of full-throttle ballot efforts. Fittingly, Kat Swift had been registering voters at Bexar County jail when another driver ran a red light and struck her vehicle last April. Several months passed before she discovered the full impact the accident had taken on her spine, a message arriving with crippling back pain. Swift first ran for San Antonio's City Council in 2007. In 2010, she mounted a campaign against Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo and locked up 20 percent of the vote as a Green Party candidate. And while today she spends most of her hours perched on an adjustable hospital bed at her West Side home, Swift has continued to be a force for developing and propelling new candidates as an at-large member of the party's state executive committee. This week, she spoke to the Current about the state of the party, wayward Libertarians, and the surge of energy the Occupy movement has meant for Greens in Texas.
For more information about her injury or how you can help, see savekat.chipin.com. — Greg Harman
So give me the talk. I’m that independent voter at the bar, or I think I am, and my reaction is, 'What? The Green Party? Isn’t that bunch that killed Al Gore?'
I get so sick of that propaganda and lies. The people who've done their research have said that more Democrats in Florida voted for Bush than people voted for Nader, for one. Two: Al Gore won the popular vote and he did nothing to stand up for himself. Three: He couldn't hold his own against Bush in a debate, he lost his home state, and the people who went and voted for Nader most likely would not have voted for Gore at all. So you can't take those votes and say, 'These people would have voted for Gore.' I wouldn't have voted for Gore. There's no fucking way you could have gotten me to vote for Gore. And the Supreme Court decided the election; it wasn't the vote.
Most people who vote Green are either former apathetic voters or they're third party all the way and they vote strategically.
Bring me forward then. 2010: that was the year there was Republican money helping the Greens get on the ballot. What got lost in the reporting on that effort?
That's what they said. The fact is, we got no money from anybody. The petition company got money to run a petition drive, and I oversaw that. We needed 47,000 signatures from people who didn't vote in the primaries and were already registered to vote — and 92,000 people signed that damn petition in two weeks.
The Republicans paid the petition company and I worked with the petition companies and they gave us the petition. They gave us correctly collected signatures from people who wanted to see the Green Party on the ballot. Then it turned out the nonprofit they were using was actually incorporated, even though they told us they weren't. But by that time the signatures were property of the state. … But, at this point, the whole issue is moot, because that only put us on the ballot in 2010. That's it. In order to be on the ballot this year, we had to get 5 percent in a statewide race. In 2010, we got 6.34 percent in the Comptroller's race and those 252,000 people who voted for the Green Party candidate. So we're on the ballot because of 252,000 voters. That's it.
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