Green Party Beats Others to the Punch, Declares Solid Candidate for Open Congressional Seat
Alanna Hartzok Announces Candidacy
In a surprising turn of events, Corporate Welfare Congressman Bud Shuster has resigned. A special election to replace him will soon be held. The Ninth Congressional District of Pennsylvania, tired of corruption, corporate welfare scandals and the apparent merger between its "Democratic" and "Republican" parties, is ready for a representative who will restore dignity and pride to the office.
Who will the next representative be? The first to declare candidacy is named Alanna Hartzok. Here are the remarks Hartzok made on January 29, as she opened her campaign.
I am grateful to the Green Party committees of Pennsylvania Congressional District Nine and the statewide Green Party of Pennsylvania for the vote of confidence in nominating me to be the Green Party candidate for Congress in this Special Election of 2001.
The Green Party will run a proactive campaign, an issues oriented campaign and an effective campaign.
We are launching a February fact-finding and listening tour of District Nine. I want to listen to and talk with as many people as I can as quickly as I can. I want to take what I learn and tell others in turn. What we learn from the listening tour will inform our areas of focus for this campaign.
I am deeply concerned about the growing wealth gap in District 9 and throughout our state and country. The top 1% of the population of the United States now has more wealth than the bottom 90% of the population. Here are the exact percentages as of 1998:
The top 1% of the population holds 38% of the wealth; the bottom 90% holds 29% of the wealth. All together the top 10% of the population holds 71% of the wealth.
The wealth gap is so extreme that even some of the very wealthy people are alarmed and have formed Citizens for Responsible Wealth and other organizations to address this problem. We need to unite for a fair economy. And we need to find a way to solve this problem that goes beyond the old inefficient bureaucratic approaches of the past.
In my work as a mental health counselor I am keenly aware of the high level of stress that is building up in people due to conditions in the workplace and the lack of economic and job security. Depression, anxiety and panic disorder are increasing. Most of us are only three months or less away from total bankruptcy if we should lose our job and not find a new one in time.
While many political leaders brag to us about the booming economy, the reality is that most of us are feeling stressed and insecure. One woman put it like this:
"I am expected to do more and more at work, plus be a wife, plus be a mother, I am going in ten different directions at once. I feel like I cannot do anything well and I am totally stressed out. Sometimes I feel like just giving up."
I have been told not to say things that might frighten people. But heard or unheard, I am compelled to sound another alarm, and this one concerns the state of the environment of Pennsylvania.
I am sad to tell you that the Gold and Green 2000 Report of the Institute for Southern Studies ranks Pennsylvania at 10th from the bottom among all 50 states surveyed on the environment. No other state's environmental score has dropped as dramatically in the past six years.
Pennsylvaniašs worst environmental rankings are these: Average Added Cancer Risk (4th from the bottom), Miles Driven (9th from the bottom), Carcinogens in Water (10th from the bottom), and Emissions of Acid Rain Pollutants Per Capita (10th from the bottom).
We simply must improve Pennsylvaniašs environmental record.
I know without a doubt that both the wealth gap and our environmental problems can be solved. Now emerging are the guidelines for the Next Economy and they are neither right nor left but up in front. The guidelines for the Next Economy take the best from both sides of the political divide and will move us ahead into the 21st century - without anyone being left behind.
The policies of the Next Economy affirm individual freedom and the many benefits of the market economy and ALSO can strengthen and support the provisioning of basic needs for good education, health care, and a safe and clean environment.
One of the major reasons I have decided to accept the Green Party nomination as candidate for Congress for District Nine is to bring to the fore progressive and practical new taxation and economic policy directives.
While we will put up stop lights to the wealth gap and environmental destruction, we will hoist several bright Go Green lights to policies that correct these problems.
My second career is that of tax reform educator and advocate and I am state coordinator of the Pennsylvania Fair Tax Coalition. Taxation policy is extremely important. The power of taxation is quite literally the power to create or destroy. A new and promising direction is emerging in the field of tax reform policy. We call this approach the "green tax shift."
Green taxes tax bads not goods. They shift taxes off of work and onto waste. With a green tax system, you pay for what you take, not what you make.
Green taxes shift taxes OFF of wages and earned income, off of homes and other buildings, and off of productive and sustainable capital. Green tax policy seeks to eliminate subsidies that are socially or environmentally harmful or inequitable. Green tax policy shifts the public revenue base to fees-for-use of our precious and limited natural resources.
Two quick examples. In the state of Alaska, royalties for oil are collected by the state as a common heritage right for all citizens of Alaska and then conserved in a permanent investment fund and distributed as citizen dividends. This last October EACH woman, man and child who had been resident of Alaska for at least one year received nearly $2000 as a cash dividend.
Eighteen cities of Pennsylvania have been leading the way in another green tax shift approach, now endorsed by many who are concerned about issues of sprawl and the economic revitalization of our towns and cities. The so-called "two-rate" or "split-rate" tax lowers taxes on homes and buildings, so if you fix up your place there is no tax penality, and shifts taxes onto landsite values to curb speculation and sprawl and to encourage a healthy urban economy.
I worked for several years with state Senator Terry Punt and his staff for passage of legislation which extended this tax option to the boroughs of our state. This beneficial tax reform legislation, which I initiated, passed with a unanimous vote in the Senate and with only two votes against in the House and was signed by Governor Thomas Ridge as Act 108 on November 24,1998.
All of the nearly 1000 boroughs of Pennsylvania can benefit from this legislative success.
As we travel around District Nine during this campaign I will consult with concerned citizens, borough managers and town council members about the potential benefits of this local tax reform for their communities.
We will also be talking about the revitalization of our rural areas. I am particularly interested in tapping the vast potential of District Nine for sustainable, organic agriculture, for strengthening family farming, and for local production for local needs. Our Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture is the fastest growing of any such organization in the country. I am a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and will be attending the PASA conference again this year at State College on February 9th and 10th. Perhaps you will come, too. It is a terrific conference.
I urge the citizens of District Nine to become actively involved with this campaign. I hope that you will be moved to invite me and other Green Party campaign workers into your communities, into your service organizations and clubs, into your places of worship and Sunday Schools and into your homes. We need to get together and talk about the kind of world that we want to live in and the kind of world we want to leave to our children.
I look forward to campaign debates and public dialogues (and maybe even a few lunches?) with the Republican and Democratic candidates for District Nine. Let us bring the spirit of democracy at its best into this campaign. Let us seriously explore and discuss the important issues and concerns of the citizens of District Nine. Let us go beyond win/lose and the 50/50 split in the body politic and move ahead to building a world that works for everyone.
Candidate Alanna Hartzok's campaign web site is at http://www.greens.org/hartzok and Hartzok can be reached by email at email@example.com
What's your advice for candidates in this special election? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
Page One Page Two Archive Discussion Room Letters What's Geoism?