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Green Party candidates jump in race for Michigan governor, U.S. Senator

Anita Belle, left, and Jennifer Kurland are seeking the Michigan Green Party's nomination for Governor and U.S. Senator.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Anita Belle, left, and Jennifer Kurland are seeking the Michigan Green Party's nomination for Governor and U.S. Senator.

Two members of the Michigan Green Party have announced they’re running for statewide office in 2018.

Anita Belle is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate. She would challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Belle is an elections-integrity and reparations activist from Detroit. She says the government needs to make majority-black cities like Detroit and Flint “whole” for their water crises.

In Flint, the city’s drinking water was tainted with lead and other contaminants under a state-appointed emergency manager. In Detroit, it’s a city policy of mass water shut-offs.

Belle says both Republicans and Democrats share responsibility for those crises.

“So for those two reasons, the people [Green Party] that have clean hands should be the ones that clean the water,” Belle said, “because they have the clean hearts and the clean minds to make sure the people are made whole.”

Belle said that after Detroit went through bankruptcy under a state-appointed emergency manager, “Detroiters really felt abandoned by the Democratic party.” She says that after decades of loyally voting for Democrats, it might be time to “let go.”

Belle says she’d also make legalizing marijuana a priority.

Jennifer Kurland hopes to be the Michigan Green Party’s candidate for Governor in 2018.

Kurland is now President of the Redford Union School Board. She wants to strengthen the state’s public school systems, especially Detroit Public Schools.

Kurland would also focus on rectifying the Flint water crisis, which she has researched in detail for a documentary. She says that debacle was the state government’s fault.

“The state needs to make Flint whole,” both in terms of money and infrastructure, Kurland said. “They knew before they switched Flint over to the Flint River that the water treatment plant could not properly treat water, and did nothing, and said nothing.”

But as for larger issues with water infrastructure and what Kurland calls “local corruption,” Kurland says both major parties share the blame. “I personally believe the Democratic Party is no longer viable and is a dead party,” she said.

The Green Party will choose candidates for the 2018 ballot at its state convention next April.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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