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Kevin Zeese is an American activist. He ran for the U.S. Senate seat from Maryland during the 2006 election, but was defeated with around 27,564 votes for 1.5% of the vote total vote. [1]

Early lifeEdit

Zeese was born in New York City in 1955. He grew up in Queens, New York where he attended public schools. He received a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1977, he began attending law school in Washington, D.C., graduating from the George Washington University Law School in 1980.

CareerEdit

Zeese is currently president of Common Sense for Drug Policy [2], an organization dedicated to reforming drug policy and expanding harm reduction. He is also director of Democracy Rising [3], an organization working to end the Iraq War. Additionally, he is a founder of TrueVoteMD.org and VoteTrustUSA.org, two organizations working for a voter verified paper audit trail with electronic voting.

He began his advocacy career as Chief Counsel for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in 1980, and served as NORML's Executive Director from 1983 to 1986. During his time at NORML he helped stop the spraying of herbicides on marijuana in Mexico and the United States, and he became a leading advocate of the medical use of marijuana. He's since been involved in helping found such drug policy reform efforts as the Harm Reduction Coalition and the Drug Policy Foundation (later merged with other organizations into the Drug Policy Alliance), and he worked with Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's "Mayor's Working Group on Drug Policy Reform", and the Journey for Justice, a protest march on Washington. He worked to bring public attention to the death of Esequiel Hernandez Jr, a high school student killed by Marines on the U.S.-Mexico border in Redford, Texas.

Zeese writes for the newsletter CounterPunch. He has been published in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post as well as on web outlets like Common Dreams, AlterNet, Dissident Voice, The Raw Story, LewRockwell.com, and Z Magazine.

Political career Edit

Initial involvementEdit

Zeese worked on the Maryland House of Delegates 2002 campaign of Green Party candidate Linda Schade and on the 2003 gubernatorial campaign of Green Party candidate Peter Camejo in California. He was the spokesman (press secretary) for Ralph Nader's 2004 presidential campaign.

2006 U.S. Senate electionEdit

Main article: Maryland United States Senate election, 2006

Despite the minority opposition among Libertarian Party of Maryland members towards Zeese's support for government-provided healthcare, Zeese received 60.8% of the vote of the Libertarian Party of Maryland's Central Committee (he needed 60%). His nomination was approved at the party's 2006 state convention on April 1, 2006. On June 3, 2006, Zeese won the nomination of the Maryland Green Party. And, on June 10, he won the nomination of the Populist Party of Maryland, the first time all three parties have nominated the same candidate.

In early April 2006, the Maryland legislature passed SB 129, which changed Maryland election law. [4] Among other things, the law took away the possibility of Zeese being listed on three ballot lines by stating that a candidate can be nominated by only a party with which he is registered. Zeese is registered as a Green. So, unless there is a legal challenge, he will be on the ballot as a Green.

Zeese calls his campaign the "Unity Campaign", and is running on a reform platform for, as he states it, "peace, justice and democracy". His campaign advocates the withdrawal of U.S. troops and corporate interests from Iraq. He also focuses on "economic justice" and is critical of the gap between the wealthy and poor. Other aims towards this end are a stop to corporate welfare (which he calls "big business socialism") and to "ensure all Americans have a stake in the economy". Electronic voting reforms are also a major feature of his platform.

Unlike many other Green Campaigns Kevin Zeese was able to gain access to publicly televised debates. All three candidates participated in the final debate of the campaign on Friday, November 3, 2006. The event was sponsored by the Collective Banking Group and held at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. A full recording is available.[5]

Kevin Zeese finished third in the voting receiving 27,564 votes for 1.5% of the total vote.

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit

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