CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – “Peace is my profession. As Greens we profess peace,” explained long-time peace activist and Iowa Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jay Robinson to a Green-sponsored Voices For Peace event here recently.

The three-year-old Iowa Green Party gained ballot access in 2000 based on Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader’s strong showing in the state. Robinson stated that he is running for governor in part to maintain the statewide major party electoral status.

However, the disarmament activist was quick to point out that peace issues are a major priority of the newly established party. Since announcing his candidacy early this year Robinson has made anti-war organizing an important part of his campaign.

Bush’s policy of U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan and the Philippines and its intended expansion into Colombia, Yemen and the oil rich region of Central Asia drew sharp rebuke from the anti-war candidate as he challenged the group to work for its reversal. “We seek justice, not revenge. We want to build, not destroy. We need to be serious about using nonviolent direct action to enact the peace we demand,” Robinson said.

The Green Party leader went on to categorize Bush’s $48 billion increase in the military budget and plans to use a new generation of nuclear weapons in regional conflicts and space as “the President’s plans for perpetual war.”

Robinson noted that state National Guard units now play an increasingly important role in this planning and explained that there is mounting pressure to federalize the use of their deployment. The Green candidate resists this effort and countered that the units must remain in the state to play an important peacemaking role in providing effective, first-response statewide emergency services in times of disaster and distress.

Robinson reminded the audience that Iowa has long been known as a peace state, with a time-honored tradition of strong, grassroots movements for peace with justice. He cited the internationally recognized Iowa Peace Institute as an example of the power of this influence.

In ending his remarks the anti-war activist urged the group to attend an April All-Iowa Anti-War Convergence conference and to join his campaign. “We can make a difference. As Greens, we must contribute now. Contribute your energy and ideas. Offer your passion for peace. As Greens we must make a stand. It’s time to stand for peace!” Robinson concluded.

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