It would be a mistake to think that Jill Ellen Stein, the Green Party’s nominee for president, is a lightweight candidate for the 2016 presidential election. An August 2016 McClatchy/Marist national poll showed the Illinois native polling at 16% among Americans under the age of 30 – almost twice as many as Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump (9%). She also tied with Mr. Trump among undecided with 8%. Dr. Stein has clearly carved a following in the millennial voting demographic, which at 75.4 million, has surpassed the baby boomers as the largest living generation in the country.
The Harvard Medical School graduate, who also earned a B.A degree from Harvard College in 1973, spent about 25 years as a physician and researcher before transitioning into politics and social activism. Her first notable exposure to politics came in 1998 when she participated in the campaign to pass the Clean Elections Law in Massachusetts, a bill designed to reduce the influence of big-money lobbyists and special interest groups by limiting public money from being used to co-finance the political campaigns of candidates who refused to agree to a $100 contribution cap. However, five years later, the bill was repealed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature, a decision which prompted Dr. Stein to break her ties with the Democratic Party.
Her maiden run for public office came during the 2002 Massachusetts’ gubernatorial election, where under the banner of the Green-Rainbow Party, she finished third behind Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Shannon O’Brien.
From the start, Dr. Stein’s core political philosophy has always been centered on the environment, renewable energy and campaign finance reform – issues that feature heavily in the Green New Deal, her pitch to the American people for the general election. The Green New Deal outlines her commitment to create “20 million living wage jobs that provide 100% clean renewable energy by 2030” while “reviving the economy, halting climate change, and making wars for oil obsolete.” Under Dr. Stein’s leadership, the Green Party will make a strong play in down-ballot races, with reportedly several hundred candidates contesting in Senate, House and state seats across the nation.
The high unfavorable ratings for both Mr. Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton has given her campaign a massive boost, and the Green Party is expected to appear on the ballots of up to 48 states and Washington D. C in this cycle, breaking the record of 2000 when Ralph Nader attained ballot access in 43 states.
Ms. Stein, the co-founder of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, is an avid musician and can play several musical instruments. She was also the lead vocalist for the folk-rock band, Somebody's Sister, which released four albums during the 90s (she sounds good, folks).