Green Party Candidates Debate, Dominate the Stage and Conversation 

     Much of the statewide focus this election season has been on the gubernatorial debates, which excluded the five candidates who did not raise at least $430,000, such as Green Party candidate Seth Kaper-Dale. While protesting the closed debates that took place on October 10th and October 18th, Kaper-Dale spoke about his campaign: “We have raised over $100,000, and we have spoken with people all around the state. The people of New Jersey need to hear from all the candidates running for governor.” Yet while the televised gubernatorial debates were limited to the usual two options, Green Party and independent candidates have been successfully debating their establishment opponents in legislative and local races throughout the state.

     Kenneth Collins and Aaron Hyndman, the Green Party candidates for General Assembly in the 24th legislative district, have been included in election-related events by the New Jersey Herald since before the primaries. On October 16th, Hyndman participated in a five-way debate against his Democratic and Republican opponents, which was streamed live on the Herald’s Facebook page and will be televised on local cable. “Both sides hurled barbs throughout the debate,” wrote Rob Jennings, reporter. “The fifth candidate, Green Party candidate Aaron Hyndman, touted his agenda while staying above the fray.”

     At the Atlantic County Candidate Forum, hosted on October 19th by the local NAACP chapter, Green Party candidates Mico Lucide for Assembly and Melissa Tomlinson for Freeholder spoke about issues that have been guiding conversations in Atlantic County. Both candidates will debate their respective opponents again on October 26th, and Lucide will participate in yet another candidate forum on October 29th.

     “We must focus on the People of Atlantic City, and not the Property of Atlantic City,” said Lucide. When pressed directly about how he feels about the state takeover of Atlantic City, he responded, directing his comment to the state government, “Get the hell out” – a comment that was received with cheers and applause from the audience.

     Henry “Hank” Green, the Green Party candidate for Atlantic City Mayor, has participated in every debate for that office. As a candidate in one of the most high-profile mayoral races in the state, Green has used the forum to discuss prominent issues such as resident employment programs and bringing the voice of Atlantic City to Trenton, instead of having Trenton try to rule the City.

      Standing up against an entrenched establishment is the focus of the 28th legislative district state Senate race, where Green Party candidate Troy Knight-Napper is running against long-time incumbent Ronald Rice. As the only candidate contesting Rice on the ballot, Knight-Napper has been actively promoting a progressive agenda, while Rice remains silent on issues affecting residents of the district. Knight-Napper has reached out to Rice repeatedly calling for a public debate, but has yet to receive a response.

Green Party of New Jersey candidates are starting to get some attention because our platform comes from working class people who have become community activists, not corporate board rooms. If you want to help us get in more debates please sign this petition to demand legislators open the debates to all candidates.

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