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 …
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.
Stein began pursuing political aspirations in 2002, when she ran unsuccessfully for governor of Massachusetts. 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. And in 2012 and 2016, she ran failed campaigns for U.S. president on the Green Party ticket, garnering fewer than 1.5% of the votes in both races.
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.
In her 2016 presidential campaign, Stein:
- called for the U.S. to accept approximately 100,000 refugees from war-torn, terrorism-ravaged Syria;1
- 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”;2
- 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”;3
- 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”;4
- 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 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;5
- opposed school voucher programs,6 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”;7
- called for the use of taxpayer dollars to “guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university”;
- called on Congress to “end 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;8
- 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”;9
- 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.”
For additional information on Jill Stein, click here.
1 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.
2 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.
3 Same-day voter registration makes it impossible to determine the validity of a registrant’s identity and eligibility.
5 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.
6 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.
8 “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.”
9 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.