Green Party Vice Presidential nominee Cheri Honkala has begun a tour of the Rust Belt during which she has seen first-hand the effects of the failed economic policies advanced by the two corporately owned parties. This tour has highlighted the plight of impoverished communities in the Upper Great Lakes and Appalachia.
Honkala began the tour in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia and witnessed the horrors of mountaintop removal mining. The environmentally unsound and shortsighted energy policies of both the Republicans and Democrats have left this area dependent on the harvest of coal. The local population now faces abject poverty, contaminated water sources, and the continued degradation of one of the U.S.'s most ecologically significant natural areas.
According to Honkala, "What the Great Lakes and Appalachia need is the Green New Deal. Dr. Jill Stein and I offer commonsense, time-tested solutions to the ongoing cycle of pollution and poverty in the central Appalachian mountains. We would redirect research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in wind, solar and geothermal energy. We will invest in research in sustainable, non-toxic materials, closed-loop cycles that eliminate waste and pollution, as well as organic agriculture, permaculture, and sustainable forestry. We offer a transition away from dirty coal and an escape from poisoned air and water as well as the destruction of these mountains."
Honkala then continued to Louisville, Kentucky, Columbus, Ohio, where she witnessed the dismantling of public housing and met with displaced families and community leaders. "People in Kentucky and Ohio are suffering. The austerity programs offered by President Obama and Governor Romney offer no relief. We must end the demolition of public housing which serves to only raise homelessness rates. My number one priority, if elected, is ending homelessness in the U.S. by ending foreclosures, and placing families in abandoned housing units and creating employment by fixing them up. There are more abandoned homes than there are homeless people in this country. We just have to put the two together."
Honkala then traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and met with leaders on the World Court of Women East which will take place in Philadelphia in October of 2013. This Court will address poverty in the U.S. using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "The Republicans and Democrats both violate the Universal Declaration on Human Rights by continuing to allow homelessness and poverty in one of the world's richest nations. A Green presidency will end homelessness, end unemployment, and provide a living wage for all workers, which would bring the U.S. into compliance with international human rights norms."
The Rust Belt tour continues with stops in Milwaukee on October 24, the Twin Cities October 25-27, and Detroit October 28-29. Honkala will continue to advocate for the Green New Deal which will allow these ailing economies an escape from the continued downward trend offered by President Obama and Governor Romney.