Waterford Gets Its (Green) Party On For Election 2015

Waterford Gets Its (Green) Party On For Election 2015

CJ Thibeau, Special Contributor

Even though many United States’ citizens are told from an early age that it is integral part of our culture to be aware and active in our local, state, and federal government, a majority of US youth feel that politics are only for the older generation or that being involved would not make a difference. However, two alumni want to show their generation that this is not the case.

Joshua Kelly and Baird Welsh-Collins, members of the Class of 2013, have recently been making a name for themselves and their party in the local political scene. Unlike a majority of politicians in town, and even on a federal level, who typically run under the Democratic or Republican parties, Kelly and Welsh-Collins have been pushing to get the Green Party active and noticed on a local level.


Baird Welsh-Collins is running for RTM, District 2
Baird Welsh-Collins is running for RTM, District 2

The Green Party, as Welsh-Collins put it, is a socially left, independent third party that is known for advocating for and creating legislation for the protection and preservation of the environment, although that is not all the party focuses on. He added, “It is a grassroots movement. It is not a movement that is corporate funded”.

The start of the Green Party originated during the late 1970s, based on the ideas from the rise of environmental awareness and the development of new social movements.

“There should be more than two political parties”, Kelley stated. “More Americans are unaffiliated and two parties can’t possibly represent all 300 million people. The Green Party is a chance for people to have a third option in their choices”.

It takes a great deal of work to add another political party to the town ballot, and went on a long journey to have this third option be available to our own town.

Joshua Kelly is running for Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate
Joshua Kelly is running for Zoning Board of Appeals Alternate

“I did all the paperwork,” Kelley said. “Third parties have to fill out all of this paperwork. First, you have to get 30 signatures from people saying they want the Green Party on the ballot. Then, for each candidate, you have to gather more signatures for each individual candidate to appear on the ballot, while they also filled out forms on how much money they planned on spending, gathering, and so on. We had to do a lot more work than our Republican and Democratic counterparts, which is why it is easier for people to just be unaffiliated”.

Both of the young politicians are currently running for separate positions in the local government, Kelly for town wide Zoning Board of Appeal alternate and Welsh-Collins for the  District 2 Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

“I didn’t originally want to run,” Welsh-Collins said, “But I did it because I felt it was my moral obligation. I have the qualifications, the ability to win, and to make a difference and help grow the Green Party influence. It’s a good fit for me”.

Being involved with local politics, these two men have ideas in mind on what they want to change and how to do so. Welsh-Collins said, “One issue unique to me is health education. My health education was an unregulated mish-mash. Very contradictory. And uninformative. Who’s coming up with the curriculum? What we have to do is to sit down and look at it and get knowledgeable people to say, ‘We know what to do’ We need to give it an overhaul. It is one of the most important part of a student’s’ education, yet it is the least focused”.

Kelly wanted to stress, “It is never too early to get involved. You should go to the Board of Education and say, ‘This is what I need to make our education better’. You have to stand up and get involved and support others. Without that support, people won’t stand up and fight”.

However, Welsh-Collins and Kelly have not only been focused on making change in the local political scene. They have also formed a non-profit organization called Life Without Borders,  an organization that works to protect and preserve the right to life of all beings, while striving to improve the quality of that life and the environment around it.

These alumni show that no matter how young you are, it is never impossible to be involved and to make a change. 

If you would like more information regarding these candidates or the Waterford Green Party, visit the Waterford Green Party website : http://www.waterfordgreenparty.org/2015-candidates

Pictures from Waterford Green Party website