A growing interest in the ideas of the Green Party has prompted leaders to form a local chapter of the political party.
An organizational meeting will be held Thursday at the DeKalb Public Library for anyone who wants to learn more or get involved with the DeKalb County chapter’s startup.
AJ Segneri, membership steward for Illinois Green Party, called DeKalb County a “critical county” for the state organization. He pointed to two county residents, James Dusing and Rob Hill, who were candidates in the November election.
Dusing, of Sycamore, lost the 70th District state representative race against incumbent Robert Pritchard, receiving 25 percent of the vote. Hill, of DeKalb, was removed from the November ballot as a Green Party candidate for the 14th Congressional District.
There are currently 24 locals – local chapters affiliated with the Illinois Green Party – and DeKalb County will be breaking away from a bigger local, the Northwestern Illinois Greens comprised of Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.
About six or seven county residents are active members of the Green Party, Segneri said, adding that there are many more with an interest in the party’s values.
“That’s why we’re creating the organized party: To meet needs of community members to learn about the Green Party,” Segneri said.
The Illinois Green Party lists 10 core values on its Web site, with the economy being a vital part of the party’s platform, he said.
“One value that people will be in tune with, with the current situation of our society, is the community-based economy,” Segneri said. “To actually stimulate the economy, we must stimulate the local level to stimulate the state, to then stimulate the national level.”
Hill said that formation of a DeKalb County chapter of the Green Party is significant because it shows voters want a change.
“Voters have more choices when you have different parties and different people out there,” Hill said. “I think the voters after the last couple of elections, especially the state elections in Illinois, haven’t had a lot of good choices.”
Matt Streb, a political science associate professor at Northern Illinois University who specializes in elections and voting behavior, said that the strong two-party system makes it difficult for third party candidates to get their foot in the door. When they do, third party successes are usually seen at the local level, he said.
“It’s a smaller area,” Streb said. “If you want to run a national campaign or a state campaign, you need a heck of a lot of money to do that. ... It doesn’t take as much money to run in those [smaller] areas.”
To get started, the DeKalb County Green Party will draft bylaws that must be approved by the state party and choose officers.