/* */

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Literature piece from my 2002 campaign

I ran for Minnesota State Senate in 2002 and got 2.11% in conservative Edina and West Bloomington. Here is the text from my literature piece:

What if our recent record weather really is caused by cars?

A record warm November-January, a snowy and chilly March-April,
and a record wet June in northwestern Minnesota. Stifling heat
waves with oppressive humidity, including record highs for August
6-7 set last year. A "500-year flood" in 1997, car-damaging hail, and
miles of trees toppled by straight-line winds in the BWCA. And
that's just in Minnesota. In India this May, over 1000 people died as
temperatures reached 122 degrees. Disappearing shoreline in the Fiji
Islands, vanishing glaciers in Glacier National Park, and polar bears
becoming surrounded by too much water to hunt seals.

Here's how cars are probably causing the problem: Cars give off
carbon dioxide when they burn gas, as do planes, coal-burning power
plants, etc. The carbon dioxide forms a blanket around the earth,
trapping in heat and throwing the climate out of balance as ice caps
melt and ocean currents change. Graphs on the Nova website
(pbs.org/wgbh/warming/etc/graphs.html), based on ice cores, tree
rings and other data, show spikes in both average temperature (1°)
and carbon dioxide (30%) in the past 100 years. The Union of
Concerned Scientists predicts a 2.5 to 10-degree temperature increase
in the coming decades, causing floods in some areas and droughts in

Even the Bush Administration agrees that global warming is
occurring, is caused by humans, and will very likely cause the
disruption of snow-fed water supplies and the disappearance of
Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal marshes. Amazingly,
however, their May "U.S. Climate Action Report 2002" proposes no
major policy shift on carbon dioxide emissions! And in March, the
Democrat-led U.S. Senate voted to delay a plan to raise average gas
mileage to 35 miles per gallon by 2015!

I'm Tom Cleland and I'm running for State Senate
because somebody has to do something about this before it's too late.
It's not being addressed at the national level so we have to start
change locally and work up from there. Minnesota can't solve the
problem alone, but we can set a good example for the nation and the

I am open to a private sector solution, but even if technologies such
as hydrogen fuel cells become feasible in the coming years, we will
still need the public sector to help us kick our addiction to gasoline.
Building more roads may loosen congestion temporarily, but it
usually leads only to more development, sprawl, traffic, and carbon
dioxide. No, people need incentives to walk and bike more, move
closer to work, and take public transit. And yes, disincentives for
wasting gas. It may not be what you want to hear, unless you
carefully consider the dire alternative: Increasingly uncomfortable
weather that could threaten your very survival! Why take that
chance? I'm asking you to make a patriotic sacrifice that not only
helps the environment, but also reduces dependence on foreign oil.

We already have a "sin tax" on cigarettes, and smoking is just a drop
in the bucket compared to the environmental impact of gasoline. I'm
proposing a gradual but aggressive and sustained series of gas tax
increases, intended to reduce carbon dioxide as quickly as possible
without paralyzing the economy. Of the money collected, a portion
will be rebated to the taxpayers, and another portion will be used to
pay for environmental protection and transit alternatives, including a
feasibility study for Public Rapid Transit. PRT is a system of
computer-controlled, personal vehicles on elevated tracks, running
nonstop with automated switching on a network of stations -- all
within walking distance. One example of PRT can be found at
taxi2000.com. Also worth exploring are ways to place our homes
and buildings closer together, aesthetically as well as efficiently, and
ways to develop more structures underground, to take advantage of
the earth's natural heating and cooling capabilities.

Before you vote for me, I'd like to tell you a little bit more about
myself. I'm 41 and work as a Business Technologist. I'm divorced
and have an 11-year-old son. I was born and raised in the Twin
Cities, grew up as an IR voter and volunteer, became a DFL activist
in 1990, supported the Independence Party in 1998, and joined the
Green Party in 2000.

The Green Party is now a major party in Minnesota after winning 5%
of the vote in the last statewide elections. Win or lose, we want our
percentages as high as possible this year, so we can send a message
and keep the party growing for the next election cycle. While we
appreciate helpful media coverage, we can never count on it, and we
need to spread our message patiently from person to person. It's
interesting that the Green Party supports Instant Runoff Voting,
while the Democrats and Republicans have not passed such
legislation. IRV allows voters to rank the candidates, so that if your
first choice can't be elected, your vote goes to your second choice and
so on. This eliminates the "spoiler" factor, which is a common
talking point used by the Democrats.

The Green Party of Minnesota's website is www.mngreens.org.
Here are the GPMN's 10 Key Values, and my brief thoughts on each:

Social and Economic Justice - To be fair, we need to increase the
minimum wage, support collective bargaining, stop tax breaks for the
rich, and end corporate welfare. Ecological Wisdom - To survive,
we need to discourage fossil fuel and nuclear power, encourage wind
and solar power, fight pollution, conserve resources, and set
priorities. Non-Violence - To minimize suffering, everyone who
enters this world deserves food, medicine, nurturing surroundings,
and family planning. We also need to consider the lives of animals.
Democracy - To empower all individuals equally, we need to curb
independent expenditures, close soft money loopholes, use instant
runoff voting, and allow proportional representation. Personal and
Global Responsibility - To ensure the aforementioned survival, we
need to crack down on behaviors such as irresponsible ATV usage
and failure to recycle. Respect for Diversity - To affirm the equality
of all people, we need to fight discrimination and racial profiling, and
celebrate the best each culture has to offer. We must also defend
human rights for GLBT people. Future Focus - To perpetuate our
vibrant species as long as possible, it would help to instill a spiritual
belief that lets us think beyond our own lifetimes. Community-
based Economics - To counter the concentration of wealth, to
minimize pollution from transportation (and to quickly distribute
fresh vegetables!), planners need to design cities wisely.
Decentralization - To allow all people to pursue their interests
without causing harm to anyone else, government needs to give some
freedoms to localities, and protect civil liberties. Feminism - To
recognize the contributions of women, employers must compensate
them fairly, and to assure women's dignity and safety, society must
not tolerate images of violence against women.

Please send contributions to Tom Cleland for State Senate, 8301
Stanley Rd. #317, Bloomington, MN 55437-1255, and include
your address, occupation, and name of employer. The legal
maximum is $500 per person. Your contribution is not tax
deductible, but the State of Minnesota will refund you the first $50
you contribute to a qualifying candidate this year. I can send you an
easy one-page form and a receipt. Since I am not funded by
traditional big money contributors, this flier could be the only
message you get from me, so tell your friends, verify any last-minute
claims, and ...

Vote Green! Don't settle for imitations!
Tom Cleland for State Senate, District 41
Prepared and paid for by Tom Cleland for State Senate, 8301 Stanley Rd. #317, Bloomington, MN 55437-1255.

Political Volunteering Resume

2002: Convened Green Party caucus and was elected chair for (old) Senate District 40.

2001: Assisted with lit drops for Green Party candidates Michael Sumner, Natalie Johnson-Lee, Brother Shane Price, and Cam Gordon.

2000: Supported Ralph Nader for President.

1996: Doorknocked one day for Cam Gordon in his Green Party campaign for state legislature, and voted for Ralph Nader.

1996: Wellstone delegate to the state DFL convention, and dropped late-night literature in Shoreview.

1996: Formed a small "Progressive Wing" group that endorsed candidates for state legislature.

1995: Co-hosted Progressive Perspectives, a local cable television show.

1994: Selected as the Marty for Governor campaign’s Volunteer of the Month for computer programming tasks, including the preparation of caucus attendee lists that were distributed statewide. Served on the Rules Committee for the 5th CD convention, and was a delegate and floor persuader at the state DFL convention. Managed a phone bank leading up to Marty's narrow primary election victory.

1993: Worked on the Citizens' Reform Network (with Cam Gordon) to promote Minnesota's Campaign Finance Reform law which was authored by State Senator John Marty, DFL-Roseville.

1992: Assisted DFLer Lisa Niebauer-Stall in her attempt to unseat incumbent Martin Sabo. The campaign was outspent 18 to 1, but still got over one-fourth of the vote.

1992: Was ticketed for an "unlawful sign by roadway," a banner over 35W with presidential candidate Jerry Brown's 1-800 number on it.

1990: Phone-banked and helped with the "late-night lit drop" in Paul Wellstone's historic, narrow victory for U.S. Senate.