A mother, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, a professor, a musician and a former Democrat are just some of the identities that define Jill Stein. Now, for the second time, she assumes another identity: the Green Party candidate for President of the United States.
When Stein visited Newark this Friday, students, supporters and adversaries gathered in the George Wilson Center to discuss some of Stein’s biggest efforts and hopes for the Green Party. As Stein entered the room, chants of “We want Jill!” in unison began while musicians played on bongo drums. Stein started her speech by motivating the crowd and asking if they’re ready to make history. She said that the Green Party is “burning green” and “unstoppable.”
“We need to exercise our anti-trust laws and break up the conglomerate controlling us,” Stein said.
She then continued to discuss issues such as water supply and how we must stop building pipelines and nuclear power plants and went on to criticize the arrests of Green Party protesters. When the Green Party candidate told her audience that North Dakota became the first state to legalize weaponized drones, the crowd showed their displeasure.
Stein stressed the importance of fighting for the generation of young people who are unable to pay their student debt. She said we need young people to support the Green Party in order to remake the economy. She blames the government for giving Wall Street $16 trillion dollars in order to save them from their “unethical” acts when only $1.3 trillion dollars would help resolve student loans.
“If we can do that for the crooks on Wall Street, we can do it for our young people,” Stein said.
Stein criticized Hillary Clinton’s campaign for spending millions of dollars on “[intimidating] people to vote for her.” Donald Trump states he will create 25 million jobs but does not say how he will do it, she said. Stein said she can create 20 million jobs by calling for an emergency job program. In doing so, she will solve the crisis for economy and climate — although she wasn’t specific on these programs and how they would achieve this goal.
Concluding her speech, she urged people to get the word out to young people to help her win the race and said it is critical to open up the debates beyond the two major parties. Voters must refuse to allow our democracy to be smothered, she said.
Stein then opened the forum to audience questions. A student in the audience asked Stein how she plans on funding college education. Stein explained that we should not be spending trillions of dollars on oil and nuclear weapons. Instead, she believes we should be spending that money on higher education.
“There are many ways we can come up with that money,” Stein said.
A resident from Newark explained to Stein that he was arrested for driving a car with drugs in it, and as a result he no longer has the right to vote in this election. He asked Stein what she would do about this if she were elected. Stein said she will create a new way forward, end the war on drugs and pardon everyone who has a nonviolent record of drugs because they should have never been penalized in the first place.
Nicole Jacoby, a junior at the university, said she is not sure whether or not she is voting for Stein. She is leaning towards voting for Hillary, but she supports some of Stein’s policies.
“I like her policies on foreign policy and she’s against regime change and stuff like that, so I like that,” she said.
Senior Emily Miller said she agreed.
“Overall, I thought she had good things to say and I think she’ll be a great candidate,” Miller said.