Wikinews interviews peace activist Cindy Sheehan, 2014 California gubernatorial candidate

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cindy Sheehan in 2007.
Image: dbking.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan, who recently announced her intention to run as the Peace and Freedom Party's nominee for governor of California in 2014, took some time to answer five questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Sheehan is best known for her active opposition to the War in Iraq following the loss of her son Casey there in 2004. In protest of the war, she set up camp outside President George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanding a pullout of U.S. troops and prosecution of Bush administration officials for war crimes. According to her website, Sheehan also advocates revolutionary socialism, believing it to be key to loosening the "Imperialist/Capitalist two-party stranglehold" on U.S. and world politics.

This campaign is not Sheehan's first foray into electoral politics. In 2008, she challenged then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for Congress, finishing second in a field of seven candidates. During the campaign, she championed the reduction of U.S. troops abroad, and endorsed economic democracy, bank nationalization, single-payer health care, education subsidies, marijuana decriminalization, alternative fuels, and electoral reform. In 2012, she ran as the vice presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party on a similar platform. The party promotes socialism, feminism, and environmentalism.

Other gubernatorial candidates include Governor Jerry Brown of the Democratic Party, former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado of the Republican Party, and 2012 Justice Party vice presidential nominee Luis J. Rodriguez of the Green Party.

With Wikinews, Sheehan discusses third party politics and her campaign and governing strategy, and assesses past governors of California, including Brown.


 ((William S. Saturn )) : Understanding that third party candidates do not often win, what do you hope to achieve by running for governor of California?

Cindy Sheehan: First of all, unfortunately third party candidates NEVER win for high level state or federal offices, and now since Prop 14 passed, it is even harder. Having said that, in 2008, I ran as an independent against Nancy Pelosi and I came in second. In California, I think I may have a good chance to advance to the general election and hopefully force the other candidate, (Brown, ?) to debate me and bring up the issues and solutions to more people.

 ((WSS )) How do you plan to spread your message throughout the state?

Sheehan: We already have many Californians who have volunteered to host the campaign with fundraisers and town hall meetings. I am going to ride my bike as much as possible to highlight the need to drastically cut our dependence on fossil fuels and to transition to clean, renewable, and sustainable forms of energy — also to highlight the need for cheap and comprehensive public transportation and infrastructure improvement.

 ((WSS )) How would you rate Jerry Brown's performance as governor? What would you do differently than him?

Sheehan: Well, since I am challenging him, I would rate his performance as poor. He is in the pockets of so many special interests, like oil and privatized prisons, that he is not looking out for the interests of everyone in this state. I would hold dozens of town hall meetings to talk to the people of this state about their struggles and community-based solutions and work with the people to put their needs first and foremost. Instead of destroying education, I would put a revival of our public school system as one of the most urgent things we need to do.

 ((WSS )) If elected, how would you work with a legislature hostile to your agenda?

Sheehan: By getting the people involved in the process. It’s the only way we can do it.

 ((WSS )) Which past California governor do you most admire?

Sheehan: I majored in US History at UCLA and was focusing on California history, so I admire someone who ran for governor, Upton Sinclair, more than anyone who actually was elected. Our EPIC campaign is modeled off of his. But if I had to pick one that was actually governor, I would say, populist-progressive Hiram Johnson. May I also say that it’s way past time that California elected a female?

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This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.