"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Notable Americans: John Eder

John Eder (1969-present)

As a member of the Maine House of Representatives, currently serving a second term and running for a third, John Eder is the highest ranking elected official to come from the Green Party of the United States.

Leaving an abusive home at 15 only to land in a facility for troubled youth, John Eder briefly studied philosophy at the college level before becoming disillusioned with college life and, still grappling with the traumas of his early life, dropping out to study at his own direction while working at a bus station.

Soon he struck out with little more than a backpack to travel the country, supporting himself by doing migrant farm work. He often involved himself in the communities he passed through by volunteering his time, labor and activism toward various social justice causes. In the course of his travels he met many people and came to feel a great hope for America and belief in the essential goodness of its people.

Settling in Maine in 1997 (initially in a solar-powered shack in the mountains) he became involved in the state Green Party and rose to the position of party co-chair. When a seat opened in the Maine House of Representatives in 2002, party leaders asked him to be the party candidate.

Running against one other candidate, a Democrat, Eder piled up endorsements from organizations, individuals, businesses and newspapers on his way to a decisive victory. Declining the traditional path of small-party officials--caucusing with one of the two major parties--Eder sought and won recognition of himself as the Green Party Caucus, securing an additional measure of influence in the legislature.

Democratic legislators succeeded in a redistricting move prior to the 2004 election which separated Eder from much of the district he had been elected to represent and placing the residence of another legislator (a Democrat) within the new borders. In response, Eder simply moved to a new home inside the redrawn district and handily defeated two opponents, the incumbent Democrat and a Republican challenger.

Eder constitutes a critical swing vote in a legislature otherwise split 74-73 between Democrats and Republicans. He has been active on tax reform issues and also champions a variety of equal rights and conservation causes.

Read the Wikipedia article on John Eder here.

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