IOWA CITY, Iowa - A national political party convention is underway in Iowa City this weekend. The Green Party of the United States will be at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus for the next two days for their Annual National Meeting.
The group chose Iowa City for a couple reasons. It has a central location that looks to draw in Midwesterners who can't make it to a coastal event. The state of Iowa has a deep significance with national politics. And also because Iowa City just seems to go well with green attitudes.
Organizers admit the Green Party's national convention is a bit unconventional. "Nobody has gotten rich in politics. We don't take money from corporations. We're not in it for the money," said Holly Hart, secretary of the Iowa Green Party.
It shows. Unlike the large, often glamorous, national meetings for Republicans and Democrats, here suits, limos, and expensive hotels have been replaced with t-shirts, bike routes, even campsites. "Usually every year there are one or a few people [who camp]. It just depends on the weather. If the mosquitoes are bad or if there's a tornado or something, or if it's nice like this weekend," said Hart.
While their red and blue colleagues bring in thousands, the Green Party looks to have convention numbers topping 120. Their schedule includes a slew of seminars focused on racial equality, agriculture, and how to run for office. "We get a lot of folks who have never run for office before and want to run as a Green, whether it's for everything from dog catcher and school board, to U.S. Senate," said Hillary Kane, who is a co-chair of this year's meeting.
With 2013 being an off-year for federal campaigns, this weekend the party also wants to focus on their national standing. Currently, they hold no seats in U.S. federal government. Party officials said the key to change is adding more voters to the 300,000 already registered.
"Lots of people do agree with the principals we lay out, they just are afraid to make the change electorally," said Darryl! Moch, with the party's steering committee.
Moch said the group has to get people to realize a Green vote isn't a throw away. Do that, and he said the party could be taking federal spots in coming years.
"My hope personally is by 2020 that we'll be really strong. But I would love for it to happen sooner," said Moch.