Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, is currently at four percent in national polls. Her candidacy, which picked up most of its steam following the fall of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, is still struggling to gain a foothold in the race to the Executive Office.
Stein’s grassroots campaign continued Tuesday night when UNH students and locals from around the seacoast area gathered for a speech and Q&A session in Huddleston Hall. The topics covered during the event ranged from healthcare to foreign policy. Stein also spoke about her plans to forgive all student debt and make education a right that’s available to everyone. This plan of hers would cost approximately $1.5 trillion and would be done through way of new policies, which includes cutting defense spending and raising taxes on the rich.
Former UNH student Matt Richards spoke as to why he believes Stein to be the best candidate. Richards, who had to drop out of UNH due to his inability to pay, said that Stein’s plan to abolish student debt and make all public education tuition free is one of the reasons he will be voting for her come November.
“We did quantitative easing for Wall Street and now we should do [the same] for student loans. There are economists saying that if we do quantitative easing for all student loans then that will be a stimulus for the economy,” Richards said. “That’d be great for the economy.”
Although Stein has never held an office higher than being a representative on the Town Meeting of Lexington, Massachusetts, she told The New Hampshire, “The experience I don’t have is the experience of going behind closed doors; with hobnobbing with the big banks and fossil fuel giants… I have had 20 years of experience with citizen groups to actually get things done.”
Ryan Fowler, who serves as the New Hampshire state coordinator for Jill Stein’s campaign, is currently trying to organize a campaign that just started this month. Stein’s campaign hadn’t gained ballot access in New Hampshire until September, so the on-the-ground outreach for the campaign has only just begun.
“The campaign, the persuasion and outreach have only been going on for about 12 days. We’ve only known about this event for 10 days. So it’s authentic in that we don’t really have money, we don’t have the Democratic contact list, we don’t have a database like Sanders. So it’s very grassroots,” Fowler said.
Suffolk University senior and Newmarket resident Jordan Gillies came as both a fan of Stein’s and as an individual who was looking to get involved with the campaign. As a former supporter of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Gillies felt that he could not support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee. In listing his reasons for not voting for Clinton, he said that he was dissatisfied with her Iraq War vote, as well as her push for fracking as Secretary of State.
Gillies noted that it’s mostly a sense of distrust that he feels. “I don’t trust her to stand with solidarity on any of the issues she now says she supports,” he said.
Community members asked Stein about issues they’re facing here at home. Whether it was their medical expenses or worries regarding climate change affecting the Great Bay area, the audience expressed support for the policies put forth by Stein’s campaign.
Still, reality looms in the background, as Stein has a limited amount of time to get the name recognition and potential votes necessary to be on the debate stage with Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump.. According to Stein, 75 percent of Americans want third party candidates on the debate stage, and as November comes closer, Stein’s revolution against the establishment will continue.