Kansas Green Party leaders hope formation of a national political party will lead to a stronger base of support back home.
Two area residents Marie Stockett, Lawrence, and Richard Morantz, Baldwin represented the state in last weekend's national meeting of the Association of State Green Parties in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Monday in Santa Monica, Calif., party leaders officially announced formation of the national Green Party along with their application to the Federal Election Commission for national committee status, which would allow the Greens to operate in the same manner as the Republican and Democratic parties in raising funds for candidates.
The Green Party previously existed as an affiliation of state organizations.
"In the 2002 elections, you will see a stronger effort to run (Green Party) candidates in local elections," said Dennis Perrin, Hutchinson, co-chairman of the Kansas Green Party.
But those candidates will have to run as independents because the Greens don't have official party status in Kansas, Perrin said. Once that status is achieved, a Green Party member can be listed as such on a Kansas ballot.
After last fall's national elections, efforts to obtain party status in Kansas stalled, Perrin said. Party supporters were unable to obtain 15,000 signatures of registered voters as required by the Secretary of State's Office. It may be near the 2004 election before the effort will be renewed, he said.
But the Green Party won't disappear in Kansas and especially in Lawrence, Perrin said. In last year's presidential election, Douglas County became one of the nation's top 20 supporters of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. In addition, Green Party supporters at Kansas University rank among the top 10 in campus party involvement, Perrin said.
"The Green Party has a practical, common sense approach to policy formation," Perrin said, describing the party's appeal. "It's all oriented toward integrating the environment with the economy."
Kansas Green Party supporters will meet Sept. 8 for a convention at Kansas State University's Student Union in Manhattan, Perrin said. After a morning business meeting, an afternoon session will focus on alternative energy sources in Kansas.