Apr 18, 2012 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
Two weeks ago in this column Ursula Rozum reflected that she would run for office on the Green Party ticket “eventually.” Actually, the eventuality was then close to realization as she had been gathering signatures on her party’s nominating petitions for the Congressional seat (was New York State’s 25th, on Election Day will become the 24th) currently occupied by Republican Ann Marie Buerkle. She biked to the Regional Transportation Center last week for a press conference to announce she was boarding a train to Albany to file papers with 61 signatures on petitions, 23 more than needed to meet the required 3.75 percent of registered Greens. She had chosen the location and approach to personify the mass transit plank in her campaign platform.
In 2008 she had worked on a large Get Out the Vote effort which she credits with helping win Central New York for President Barack Obama and then Democratic Congressional winner Dan Maffei, although noting she was not acting as a Democrat, but rather has always been a registered Green. This year, ironically, if she maintains an emerging campaign style of articulate thoughtfulness and boundless energy, she might be the factor to deter a Maffei victory, if he is a candidate and the race is as close as Buerkle’s less than three-tenths of one percent tally in 2010. Without an automobile or health insurance, and at 28 still burdened with college student loans, she actually represents several of the issues she will campaign on.
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Rozum speaks the language along with three others, and admits that she polkas, “but not at home.” In explaining her choice of announcement location, she cited a mass transportation bill waiting for Congressional approval, which contains at allotment for Centro. She feels there is a progressive majority among voters in the 24th, who will respond to her pledges not to accept campaign contributions from corporations and to remain independent in her quest. In policy statements she would bring the troops home from Afghanistan, cut the military budget by 50 percent and end drone strikes and the war on drugs. She would decriminalize marijuana and treat drug use as a social and health problem.
Rozum believes that every adult who is willing and able should have the right to work, and would use the 50 percent cut in the military budget to create a program similar to the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s, this time focusing on the nation’s badly needed infrastructure rehabilitation. If government bailed out the auto industry, she posits, it could engineer the forgiving of student loans, and establish a tuition-free public education system through graduate school. “The United States is the only developed country that does not guarantee health care for all of its citizens,” she says. “If poor countries like El Salvador and Cuba can offer health care to their citizens, why can’t we?”