Green party Lt. Gov. candidate in it to win it
The Green-Rainbow party candidate for lieutenant governor did not come from a privileged background similar to that of many politicians. Richard Purcell, a 50-year-old resident of Holyoke, Mass., moved to Massachusetts in 1974 from a Tohatchi Native American reservation in N.M., and his family settled in the Holyoke projects.
Purcell’s experience with poverty and his mother and grandmother’s activism in the Native American movement shaped his political philosophy, which landed him a position as Dr. Jill Stein’s running mate in the Massachusetts race for governor.
Purcell, a buck sergeant in Operation Desert Storm, sat down with the Collegian on Sunday Oct. 17 and explained his and Stein’s ideas for the Commonwealth.
He is about 5 feet 6 inches, of medium build with peppered white hair and a hoop earring accompanying a diamond stud on his left ear.
Purcell spoke passionately in a close to combative manner unlike the cool diplomatic responses given by politicians like President Barack Obama.
According to Purcell, he and Stein are the “people’s voice,” claiming that politicians too often hear one thing from the public and do the opposite.
Unlike the Charles Baker, Timothy Cahill, and Deval Patrick campaigns, the Green-Rainbow party candidates have a policy of rejecting any and all donations from private organizations and lobbying groups. Purcell calls his opponents, “corporate candidates.” Purcell claimed that he and Stein’s grassroots campaign is more legitimate because he and Stein will not owe any favors to corporate sponsors.
Purcell has run for public office several times in Holyoke, but has never won, as opposed to his opponents Richard Tisei and Timothy Murray, who have had extensive experience in elected office. Candidate Purcell has worked on several ballot initiatives in Holyoke.
He claims his leadership skills come from his experience in the military, where he said he learned how to work as a team.
Purcell claims he has been portrayed in the media as a “spoiler candidate” who would take away votes from Governor Patrick. The Green-Rainbow candidate asserts that he and Stein are running to win.
“There was an article in the paper today about the spoiler effect, saying we are going to take votes away from Deval Patrick,” said Purcell. “They’re absolutely right -we’re here to take votes away from everybody,” continued Purcell.
Purcell outlined his top three priorities he would focus on if elected: Jobs, health care, and education, in that order.
The Green-Rainbow party candidates plan to tackle their first priority, jobs, by building a green infrastructure.
“Jill and I want to create 50,000 green jobs,” said Purcell. “Green jobs put people back to work at the same time as building infrastructure for secure energy, food, transportation, and heath. Green jobs will also reduce pollution, improve nutrition, and help us reclaim an active lifestyle,” continued Purcell.
If elected, Purcell and Stein plan to endorse biking, saving energy, and waste disposal.
“Half of the state budget is health care,” said Purcell, who has worked at Baystate Medical Center for 19 years, “If you start making people’s lifestyles healthier, then you are helping the health care system.”
Purcell claimed that more recycling workers and a better system of public transportation are important to creating more jobs while improving the environment.
He then claimed that the state has not been able to do this because Massachusetts is still paying the bill for the Big Dig, a project which, Purcell pointed out, had Charlie Baker as among its chief financial architects.
Purcell then went after Baker on his stance on creating jobs. He claims that Baker “turned Harvard Pilgrim around” by laying off 350 people.
“[Baker] made people lose their jobs and now [Baker] is in this race to create jobs,” said Purcell, “It’s a tongue twister.”
Purcell claimed he and Stein are the ones who can improve health care in the state by creating a single-payer system.
“Who better to talk about health care than a doctor?” said Purcell, referring to Stein, “Or should you listen to an insurance executive in Charlie Baker or a corporate lawyer in Deval Patrick?”
According to Purcell, the media has not given Dr. Stein enough exposure, and she has been excluded from several debates. He claims part of the reason for the exclusion is the Green-Rainbow party’s lack of funding compared to the GOP and Democratic campaigns.
“There is only one real option for change in this election,” said Purcell, “and that is Dr. Jill Stein and Richard Purcell.”
Purcell stated that he seeks to get every student in Massachusetts to get the exact same chance at an education, regardless of their financial status.
He claimed the Bay State’s public schools and colleges are under attack by “privatization interests,” citing the example of charter schools.
“Public money that is supposed to be spent on public schools is going to charter schools,” said Purcell.
Purcell also claimed that part of the reason why the University of Massachusetts isn’t funded as well as state schools outside of Massachusetts is the privatization of the education system.
The Green-Rainbow party gubernatorial candidate, Jill Stein, will appear at UMass in the Cape Cod Lounge on Oct. 22. Her talk will be followed by a performance by a rock opera titled, “Protest PG,” by Amherst performance artist Norman Bie. The event will be hosted by the Cannabis Reform Coalition.
Bobby Hitt can be reached at email@example.com.