Green Party of Oklahoma
|Green Party of Oklahoma|
|Political ideology||green, social democratic or agrarian|
|International alignment||Global Greens|
The state party's original roots are not certain, but the best known history is that there were two local Green Party chapters active in the late 1990s, the Central Oklahoma Green Party (which later split into the Oklahoma County Green Party and the Cleveland County Green Party) and the Green Country Green Party (representing the Tulsa metropolitan area and Northeastern Oklahoma).
Prior to the formation of a statewide party, Green Party members in Oklahoma (through statewide nominating conventions) sent delegates to the national Green Party nominating conventions in 1996 and 2000. Greens statewide also cooperated in the publication of The Greenleaf (a state Green Party newspaper).
In 2002, the local chapters joined together in issuing a call for the Founding convention of the Green Party of Oklahoma, which was held at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Norman on November 16, 2002. At this convention the party elected the following members to the state executive board: Rachel Jackson & Ben Alpers as co-chairs, Secretary Danelle ?lastname, Doug Vincent as Treasurer, and James M. Branum, Alice Anderton, and Brian Wright as members at large. (shortly after this convention Danelle resigned as Secretary and Belinda Silverstar was selected by the executive committee to serve in her place).
The second state convention was held at Dwight Mission near Vian in May 2003 (where the party drafted its state platform), and the third state convention was held in the spring of 2004 at the Newcastle Senior Citizens Center in Newcastle, OK (at this convention Branum succeeded Alpers as co-chair, and Micah Atkins was elected to fill the vacancy left by Branum's change in position. The party also elected Alpers, Branum, Silverstar, and Curtis Andrew Beckwith to represent the state at the GPUS national convention in the summer of 2004). Later in 2004, Brian Wright resigned his position and Serena Blaiz was chosen to serve in his place.
The fourth state convention was held at the campgrounds of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, OK. The convention was notable for its adoption of the so-called "Radical Proposal", a bylaws revision that abolished the current state Executive Committee and replaced it with a state Cooperative Council, composed of voting representatives from each of the local chapters, as well as non-voting membership by GPOK members who wish to participate. The party now has a Facilitator who manages the flow of discussion at meetings but no longer has the executive position of Co-chair.
The fifth annual state convention was held in Tulsa in 2006. Major business of the convention included the endorsement of the party's first candidate for the State House. In 2007, the party held its Sixth annual convention in Stroud, Oklahoma at the historic Rock Cafe on old Route 66. The speaker at this convention was Sean Hough, a worker from the Libertarian Party who had come to work with Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform. Stroud also hosted the Seventh Annual convention in 2008. The party returned to its birthplace in Norman for its Eighth (in 2009) and Ninth (in 2010) Annual Conventions. The party held its Tenth annual convention in Stroud in 2012.
Currently there are four local chapters in Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Green Country, and the Rural Oklahoma Green Party (a local chapter that represents Oklahoma Greens outside of the major metropolitan areas).
Major events that received press coverage
The Oklahoma Greens conducted protests in 2000 against Ralph Nader's exclusion from the state's Presidential ballots.
In 2002 the party circulated a candidate questionnaire to all of the statewide candidates for Oklahoma political office that year. Following the election a controversy arose over candidate Brad Henry's statements regarding the death penalty, in which the governor denied that he had authorized his statement in favor of a death penalty moratorium to the Green Party. (This was discussed by several statewide media outlets.)
Current areas of concern
The state party has been active in organizing on the issues of peace, anti-death penalty, minority language rights, gay rights, rural sustainability and academic freedom. The party has also worked with the Oklahoma Libertarian Party and the Oklahoma Constitution Party in seeking to reform Oklahoma's restrictive ballot access laws through the Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform coalition (OBAR).
In 2000 the party unsuccessfully petitioned to place Ralph Nader on the Oklahoma Presidential ballot. In 2004, the party held a "protest petition drive" (gathering a nominal number of signatures as a form of protest) to place GPUS presidential nominee David Cobb on the Oklahoma Presidential ballot. Following this, the party joined with other members of the OBAR coalition in calling for Oklahoma voters to cast a blank ballot for President as part of a so-called "None of the Above" Presidential campaign.
In 2005, the state party was accredited as a state Green Party by the Green Party of the US. (see Green Party US Voting Page (external link).
In 2006, Green Party member James M. Branum ran to represent State House District #99 in northeast Oklahoma City as an Independent. He was endorsed by the local and state Green parties as their first candidate for public office in Oklahoma. He received 306 votes, or 4.81% of the votes cast in the three-way race. Also in 2006, Bob Waldrop was endorsed by the Oklahoma County Green Party in his non-partisan campaign for Oklahoma City mayor.
In 2007, the Oklahoma County Green Party endorsed Fannie Bates in her run as a Democrat for the Oklahoma County Commission.
The state party also called for a boycott in 2006 of Starbucks in solidarity with the National Lawyers Guild and other groups protesting the firing of workers who were members of the Industrial Workers of the World union.