Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Flower Power in the Flower City

Alison Duncan and Eric Jones before the Rochester Pride Parade

Last weekend I made a campaign trip to Rochester. I arrived late Friday night and got a crash course in local Rochester politics—the schools, the ferry, pollution and housing among other topics—along with a short tour of the city from Jason Nabewaniec. He and his wife, Misty, were my terrific hosts for the duration. Early Saturday morning we met voters and passed out literature at the farmer’s market. I live just down the street from the Union Square Greenmarket and when I’m in Keene Valley I enjoy the farmer’s market there. Visiting the Rochester farmer’s market was like stepping into a Technicolor dream of fruits and vegetables. Sadly, no matter how I calculate it, it’s just not cost effective to travel out to Rochester to do my weekly shopping. Folks at the farmer’s market were a fairly laid-back, diverse group of people who, by and large, were very interested in hearing about a Green ballot option.

Jason and I were joined by Timothy, a local Green, at the market. Timothy and I talked about a lot about petitioning and he pledged at least a thousand signatures. The Green Party does not have ballot status so we face a significant challenge in collecting 15,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Petitioning started on July 11 and will end August 22. Any registered voter or any notary registered in New York State can carry a petition. Watch a movie about how to petition, read the letter Malachy and I wrote about the importance of petitioning and email duncanforltgovernor@gmail.com to connect with other petitioners or petition coordinators.

After lunch we had a fundraiser, than it was on to the Rochester Pride Parade. The theme of the parade was “Flower Power in the Flower City.” I was struck by how many creative and funny some of the groups presentations were. I was also struck by the strong presence of religious organizations that were marching in support of LGBT folk. Their presence became especially significant as we marched past a number of religious protesters towards the end of the march. Eric Jones came from Buffalo for the event and he and I worked the crowds along the parade, handing out about 1000 postcards for my campaign. Jason, Misty and local Green organizers David and Zuza marched with the Monroe County Green party banner, two dogs, and sunflowers that I bought at the farmer’s market. Misty is an American Sign Language interpreter and at the end of the parade I had an opportunity to campaign to a deaf couple with Misty translating between us.

After the parade, Jason, Misty and I walked back through an especially beautiful part of Rochester—the art district and the George Eastman House. True to the nickname there were flowers everywhere, and, despite our sore feet, it was very relaxing after the excitement of the parade.

Thank you to Eric, Zuza, David, Timothy and especially Jason and Misty for welcoming me to Rochester. It was a very fun and informative trip and a great opportunity to meet a lot of Western New York voters.

posted by Alison Duncan on http://www.alisonduncan.org/blog/

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