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Green Party Candidate Laura Wells Champions For Change

Olivia Niland |
February 12, 2014 | 1:40 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Laura Wells (Wikipedia)
Laura Wells (Wikipedia)
Green Party of California (GPCA) candidate Laura Wells is running for state controller on a platform which includes implementing single-payer healthcare, reforming Proposition 13 and reducing the cost of attending college in California. 

Wells' current run for state controller is her fourth political campaign, including two previous bids for state controller and one for governor. Wells also holds the distinction of being the Green Party candidate earning the most votes — nearly half a million, or six percent, of the votes cast — in a statewide California partisan race for her 2002 state controller campaign.

A former financial and business analyst, Wells, like all Green Party candidates, is running without corporate money, saying that money directed toward politicans too often negatively affects low-income and disadvantaged voters. 

"We need to stop voting for people who take corporate money," said Wells. "Corporate money is just the marker. That's the first line that candidates cross. The vast majority of people who are in office are corporate-funded entities."

Wells added, “We're in a drought, and there are people who are flooded with problems in this state right now. It makes no sense for [Gov. Jerry Brown] to not be restoring the safety nets there once were and supplementing while Washington is cutting."

Wells said one such safety net are food assistance programs such as CalFresh, which resulted in lowered monthly food assistance for 4.2 million Californians last November. 

“There's no reason why Californians should have less ability to buy food this year than last year,” said Wells. “There is no reason for anyone ever to come out of school at age 22 and be in debt, or to be in a wealthy agricultural state like California and not have good food to eat.”

Wells is also an advocate for creating a state-owned banking system.

“A lot of people first heard of the concept of a state-owned bank after the global economic meltdown,” Wells said. “A state bank in California would be a huge benefit. We don't need a rainy day fund or consumer banks. We need a state bank which would partner with local banks and credit unions to offer better mortgage loans and student loans. A state bank would make a small profit, and that profit would stay in California.”

The only U.S. state with a state-owned bank is North Dakota, dubbed “the state the recession forgot,” as it's the only state that avoided a budget deficit after the 2008 recession. According to Wells, state-owned banks are also successful in various countries around the world and could provide better student and homeowner loans for Californians, and possibly even lower taxes.

“No students are getting out of school without debt, and it's a crime that we're allowing this to happen to our next generation,” said Wells. “The solution is not to lower the interest rate but to make tuition free."

Wells also wants to amend Proposition 13, originally passed in 1978 to limit taxes for real estate and help keep older Californians in their homes. Wells and other opponents of Proposition 13 argue that the amendment led to a loss of funding for libraries, city services and public schools, which disproportionately certain demographics. And Proposition 13, according to Wells, increased the sales tax. 

“People often associate Proposition 13 with keeping low-income people and senior citizens in their homes,” said Wells. “But what it's also done is help make tax rates on the super rich take a nose dive ... With the concentration of wealth comes the concentration of power, and with power comes control of the politicians and control of the media — all the resources you need to mislead the population." 

Wells and other GPCA candidates now face the task of collecting 10,000 registered California voter signatures by February 20. The number of signatures needed to make the primary ballot skyrocketed due to the passage of Proposition 14

Though an uphill battle, Wells admitted she was less concerned about getting her name on the June primary ballot and more about increasing her party's visibility.

"I don't care if I personally ever get elected. I just want someone like me to get elected," said Wells. "There are plenty of people who want to make the world a better place."

Reach Staff Reporter Olivia Niland hereFollow Olivia Niland on Twitter @olivianiland.



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