* Has a background as a physician and a professor of medicine
* Became involved in environmental activism in the 1990s
* Joined Physicians for Social Responsibility and Physicians for a National Health Program
* Ran several failed campaigns for political office in Massachusetts
* Ran failed campaigns for U.S. president on the Green Party ticket in 2012 and 2016
* Multi-millionaire who has invested heavily in energy companies, big banks, pharmaceutical giants, and defense contractors
Born in Chicago on May 14, 1950, Jill Stein earned a bachelor’s degree in social relations from Harvard College in 1973, and an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1979. She went on to practice internal medicine until 2002, and also worked as a professor of medicine at her alma mater from 1982-2002.
In the 1990s Stein became involved in environmental activism, and she subsequently served in various capacities with organizations like Clean Water Action, the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Toxics Action Center, and Physicians for a National Health Program. In 2008, she helped formulate “Secure Green Future,” a ballot initiative urging legislators to prioritize the creation of “green jobs” in Massachusetts.
Also an advocate for campaign finance reform, Stein in 1998 helped promote the Massachusetts Clean Elections Law, a bill designed to reduce the political influence of big-money lobbyists and special-interest groups. Under the terms of this bill, candidates who refused to agree to a $100 cap on the private contributions they accepted, would be denied public funds to co-finance their campaigns. In 2006 Stein served on the board of MassVoters for Fair Elections, whose stated mission, similarly, is to “minimize the role of money in elections.”
Stein began pursuing political aspirations in 2002, when she ran unsuccessfully for governor of Massachusetts on the ticket of the Green-Rainbow Party, a local state affiliate for the wider Green Party of the United States. She subsequently ran losing campaigns for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2004, and for Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2006. In 2005 and 2008, Stein was elected as a Town Meeting Representative in Lexington, Massachusetts.
In 2012 and 2016, Stein ran failed campaigns for U.S. president on the Green Party ticket, garnering fewer than 1.5% of the votes in both races. Her 2012 presidential bid was supported by Noam Chomsky. Her 2016 campaign was endorsed by Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Susan Sarandon, Marc Lamont Hill, Oliver Stone, Kevin Zeese, and Richard Wolff. In her acceptance speech for the Green Party nomination in 2016, Stein called for “free[ing] the political prisoners … Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and Edward Pinkney[.]”
In May 2016, Stein participated on several panels at the annual Left Forum gathering in New York City.
In September 2016 a North Dakota judge issued a warrant for Stein’s arrest — on charges of criminal trespass and criminal mischief — after she and her presidential running mate, Ajamu Baraka, had spray-painted construction equipment to protest the Dakota Access pipeline that, if built according to plans, would allegedly encroach upon sacred and culturally sensitive grounds belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. According to The Associated Press, Stein sprayed the words “I approve this message” in red paint on the blade of a bulldozer, while Baraka painted the word “decolonization” on a separate piece of construction equipment. Before the criminal charges were filed against her, Stein voiced her hope that North Dakota authorities would “press charges against the real vandalism taking place at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation: the bulldozing of sacred burial sites and the unleashing of vicious attack dogs.”
In her 2016 presidential campaign platform, Stein:
- called for the U.S. to accept approximately 100,000 refugees from war-torn, terrorism-ravaged Syria;
- promoted an open-borders and amnesty agenda that featured “a welcoming path-to-citizenship for [illegal] immigrants,” the prompt passage of the DREAM Act, the cessation of “deportations and detentions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants,” and an end to “the shameful practice of night raids being used to terrorize refugee families”;
- supported a gun-confiscation measure akin to a 1996 Australian initiative, and called for an outright “ban” on “assault weapons”;
- pushed a “Medicare-for-all” system predicated on the notion of “health care as a human right”;
- sought to make illegal aliens eligible for coverage under Obamacare, and ultimately to institute “a single-payer [government-run] system”;
- proposed an anti-terrorism strategy that would “freeze the bank accounts of countries that are funding terrorism”;
- stated that “a foreign policy based on diplomacy … and nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world” would permit America to “cut military spending by at least 50% and close 700+ foreign military bases”;
- argued that Supreme Court Justices should aim to tilt the proverbial scales of power in favor of people who lack wealth and influence;
- demanded that the Supreme Court recognize that “corporations are not people” – a reference to the 2010 Citizens United decision striking down a ban that had prevented corporations from funding the production of campaign ads for federal political candidates;
- portrayed Voter ID laws as fundamentally “unconstitutional”;
- called for permitting “simplified, safe, same-day voter registration”;
- said that the U.S. should “abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote”;
- sought to roll back the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that had struck down, as anachronistic, a Voting Rights Act provision requiring mainly Southern states to undergo — based on the unfounded presumption of their continuing racist tendencies — special federal pre-clearance for any changes to state election policies;
- called for the U.S. to “restore voting rights to [felony] offenders, including while [they are] in prison”;
- demanded that the IRS “rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive,” and to make “the rich pay their fair share of taxes”;
- called for raising the estate tax (a.k.a. “death tax”) to “at least” 55% on inheritances over $3 million, and also raising U.S. corporate taxes, which were already among the highest in the world;
- sought to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, and to guarantee a minimum baseline income for every American, including those who, for whatever reason, do not work;
- demanded the expansion of “rental and home ownership assistance” for people with low incomes or poor credit, an idea bearing a noteworthy resemblance to the policies that had led to the housing crisis and financial meltdown of 2008;
- pledged to “double Social Security benefits to lift seniors out of poverty,” and vowed to keep the program “perfectly solvent” by making “the rich” pay “their fair share” of Social Security taxes;
- condemned “the deadly school-to-prison pipeline,” a term connoting the allegedly common practice of using black students’ behavioral problems as an excuse for pushing them out of the classroom and into the juvenile-justice system;
- opposed school voucher programs, on grounds that they would siphon money away from public schools at a time when “the funding of education is clearly at a crisis point”;
- called for the use of taxpayer dollars to “guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university”;
- called on Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law that has traditionally prohibited federal funding for abortions, on grounds that it “denies a poor woman’s right to an abortion”;
- demanded that all health insurance policies should include coverage for abortion services, which Stein defined as “a human right”;
- rejected the notion that business owners who object to abortion on religious grounds should be exempted from having to offer their employees insurance plans that cover abortion services;
- urged voters to “support the Black Lives Matter Movement”;
- lamented that “police brutality, mass incarceration and institutional racism” are ubiquitous in the criminal-justice system;
- recommended that the United States “demilitarize police”; increase spending on social welfare programs that could “repair our communities,” rather than “dump resources into the prison-industrial complex”; “appoint dedicated investigators to investigate every death or serious injury at the hands of police”; “eliminate harsh mandatory sentencing requirements which often result in unjustified sentences”; “replace shoot-to-kill as the only response tactic”; and “train officers in conflict resolution”;
- called for the U.S. to “release nonviolent drug offenders from prison, removing such offenses from their records, and provide them with both pre- and post-release support”;
- characterized climate change as a “national emergency” that posed “the greatest threat to humanity in our history”;
- vowed to combat climate change with a publicly funded “emergency Green New Deal” amounting to “a WWII-scale national mobilization”;
- called for bans on hydraulic fracturing, offshore and tar-sands oil drilling, mountaintop-removal coal mining, natural gas pipelines, uranium mines, and nuclear power — all for environmental reasons; and
- proposed the creation of “a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to get to the bottom of the crisis of racism, and to provide reparations to acknowledge the enormous debt owed to the African American community for the unimaginable price they paid in building this country and sustaining our economy for generations while they were denied dignity and freedom” by the “criminal institution of slavery.”
In October 2016 the Daily Beast reported that although Stein had “largely based her [presidential] campaign on her uncompromising positions on the environment, opposition to big banks and Wall Street, defense contractors, and the pharmaceutical industry,” an analysis of her financial disclosures showed that she was “heavily invested” – to the tune of anywhere from $3.8 million to $8.5 million – “in the very industries that she malign[ed] the most.” Specifically, Stein was invested in funds whose holdings included energy companies like Chevron, Exxon, Conoco Phillips, Toho Gas, and Duke Energy; big banks like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank; the pharmaceutical giants Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, and Allergan; and the defense contractor Raytheon.
Stein is a multimillionaire. After the 2016 presidential election, she led an effort to recount the votes in the Midwestern swing states that had helped Donald Trump emerge victorious, raising more than $7.1 million to fund that initiative. In January 2017, the Washington Free Beacon reported that because the recount effort ultimately cost less than was initially projected, nearly 30 percent of that $7.1 million ended up in her possession:
“Green Party nominee Jill Stein will receive $2 million in refunds after initial estimates were well above the final costs of the failed presidential recount attempts in three battleground states, according to officials. Stein will use the leftover funds to launch a new voter integrity group.
“Stein, who pushed for recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, was only successful in initiating a recount in Wisconsin, an effort that ultimately netted 131 more votes for President-elect Donald Trump. Federal courts in Pennsylvania and Michigan halted Stein’s attempted recounts in the states. Wisconsin initially estimated that the effort would cost $3.5 million. A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that the final costs for 70 of the 72 counties in the state was $1.8 million. With the remaining two counties, the total costs could hit $2 million, the spokesman said. Stein would be reimbursed the remaining $1.5 million. Stein will also receive [an estimated $592,000] in reimbursements for the failed recount attempt in Michigan.”
Further Reading: “Jill Stein” (OpenSecrets.org, Boston.com, Ballotpedia.org, Keywiki,org); “Harvard Grad Jill Stein Faces Uphill Battle for Presidency” (TheCrimson.com, 11-30-2015); “Jill Stein Biography” (ProCon.org, 2016); “Robert Scheer Speaks With Jill Stein About the Green Party and the 2016 Election” (TruthDig.com, 2-8-2016); “Green Party Nominee Jill Stein” (KKFI.org, 2016).
- “Noam Chomsky on How Progressives Should Approach Election 2012” (Alternet.org, 9-28-2012);”Endorsements” (Jill2016.com); “Oliver Stone on Voting for Jill Stein” (Variety.com, 11-29-2016); “Jill Stein selects Ajamu Baraka as running mate” (Politico.com, 8-2-2016); “Meet Jill Stein, the Green Party Foe of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump” (Time.com, 7-27-2016).
- High-ranking government officials like FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach all said that it would be impossible to reliably screen out terrorists posing as refugees.
- So-called “assault-weapons” – an ambiguous and largely meaningless term that is generally applied to semiautomatic rifles – account for a mere 1 to 2 percent of all homicides nationwide, whereas handguns account for about half of all homicides. Moreover, 62% of all firearm-related deaths are suicides – i.e., tragic occurrences in which “assault weapons” are rarely involved.
- Same-day voter registration makes it impossible to determine the validity of a registrant’s identity and eligibility.
- When convicted felons regain their voting rights, they support Democrats about 73% of the time.
- There is voluminous data indicating that differing rates of suspension and expulsion for blacks and whites are not due to race, but rather, are consistent with marked differences in actual schoolyard and classroom behavior.
- Voucher programs are designed to enable the parents of low-income, mostly-minority children to transfer their youngsters out of failing public schools, and into private schools.
- As of 2016, per-pupil expenditures for public-school students in the United States were approximately $11,000 per year, higher than the corresponding figures for nearly every other nation on earth.
- “Religion and healthcare have nothing to do with each other,” says Stein. “It should not be the prerogative of an employer to exercise his personal beliefs in determining the healthcare of his employees.”
- The Washington Examiner reports that “in the federal prison system, 99.5% of those incarcerated for drug convictions are guilty of serious trafficking offenses,” meaning that just 0.5% are in jail for simple possession.