Wendy for Governor Campaign

Wendy Barth is running for the Governor of Iowa on the Green Party ticket, along with running mate Richard Johnson candidate for Lt. Governor.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Personal Profile

Let me tell you a little about myself.
I am a lifelong Iowan, in fact my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are or were all Iowans. Going back a generation or so further you find Norwegian, German, English, Danish and Scot-Irish ancestry. I past generations, many of the women in my family were accomplished seamstresses and needleworkers. Unfortunately, it is hard to make a living at needlework today, due to competition from sweatshops.

I graduated from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Coe College, and have a Master's degree from the University of Iowa in Mathematics. After I got the master's degree, I worked as a software engineer, working on mechanical engineering software, 3D animation, and avionics.

I drive a hybrid car, a Honda Insight. It was the first one sold a Chezik Sayers Honda in Iowa City, I got it on Earth Day 2000. It's lifetime average is 61 MPG. The best I ever got was 80 MPG for 100 miles. On nice summer day, if I don't use the air conditioner I can get 75 MPG at 65 MPH. Here's a picture of me and my car in the March 20th peace parade 2003:

All the standard-fixture light bulbs in my house are compact fluorescent. They generate a lot less heat than incandescent, so I get by without an air conditioner in my house, which is kept cool under the shade of a gorgeous oak tree.

I get 100% of my electricity from renewable sources, by subscribing to Alliant Energy's Second Nature program.

I take my canvas bags to the grocery store, so I don't have a closet full of flimsy plastic bags.
I prefer organic food when I can get it, and shop at the farmer's market for most of my produce. I make jams and jellies, pickles, sauerkraut and other home-canned foods. When buying imported food, I buy fair-trade when possible.

I am a peace activist, president of Women For Peace Iowa. I have organized educational forums, speakers, and protests.

I serve on the Board of Directors of Emma Goldman Clinic.

I enjoy dancing: contra, ceili, English Country, and the occasional Irish set dance. I am an amateur contra caller.

I have two children: Zachary is a student at Iowa State, and Lorelei is a freshman in high school.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Green Party Position on Agriculture


Our current food system is dominated by centralized agribusiness and unsustainable practices that threaten our food security, degrade the environment, destroy communities, and squeeze out family farmers. Our so-called cheap food comes at the expense of the exploitation of our farmers along with the oppression of third world peoples, inhumane treatment of animals, pollution of air and water, and degradation of our land.
The agricultural system for the 21st Century must provide a high quality of life for farmers, nutritious and safe food for consumers, and reward farming methods that enhance the quality of water, soil, and air, and the beauty of the landscape.
1. We encourage legislation that assists new farmers and ranchers, that promotes widespread ownership to small and medium-sized farms and ranches, and that revitalizes and repopulates rural communities and promotes sustainable development and stewardship.
2. We support new farming and growing opportunities and urge the inclusion of non-traditional crops and foods in farm programs.
3. We advocate regionalizing our food system and decentralizing agriculture lands, production, and distribution. We encourage public support for producer and consumer cooperatives, community kitchens, Community Supported Agriculture, urban agriculture, and community farms and gardens.
4. We advocate the creation of a Food Policy Council composed of farmers, including small farmers and consumers, to oversee the USDA and all food policies at the local, state, and national level. This council should adjudicate conflicts of interest that arise when industries police themselves.
5. We support the highest organic standards (California Organic Certification Standards, for example). We advocate shifting price supports and government subsidies to organic food products so that they will be competitive with chemically produced food. We believe that everyone, not just the wealthy, must be able to afford safe and healthy food.
6. We urge the banning of sewage sludge or hazardous wastes as fertilizer, and of irradiation and the use of genetic engineering in all food production.
7. We would phase-out man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers. We support Integrated Pest Management techniques and agro-ecology as alternatives to chemical-based agriculture.
8. Food prices ought to reflect the true cost of food, including the health effects of eating processed foods, antibiotic resistance, pesticide effects on growers and consumers, soil erosion, water pollution, pesticide drift, and air pollution. Indirect costs (loss of rural communities, a heavily subsidized transportation system, cost of the military necessary to defend cheap oil, and reduced security), though more difficult to calculate, should be factored into the cost of our highly centralized food system.
9. World hunger can best be addressed by food security - being self-sufficient for basic needs. Overpopulation is largely a consequence - not simply a cause - of poverty and environmental destruction, and all remedial actions must address living standards and food security through sustainable production.
10. Because of the tremendous amount of energy used in agriculture, we support farm subsidies to encourage the transition from dirty fuels to clean renewable energy as one of the most effective ways to move our country to a sustainable future.
11. We support legislation that provides energy and fuel conservation through rotational grazing, cover-crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing systems, and fuel-free, clean renewable energy development on the farm.
12. We encourage states to promote net-metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.
13. Animal farming must be practiced in ethically and environmentally sustainable ways. Rapidly phase out the use of confined animal feeding operations and factory farms.
14. Applying the Precautionary Principle to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we support a moratorium until safety can be demonstrated by independent (non-corporate funded), long-term tests for food safety, genetic drift, resistance, soil health, effects on non-target organisms, and cumulative interactions.
Most importantly, we support the growing international demand to eliminate patent rights for genetic material, lifeforms, gene-splicing techniques, and biochemicals derived from them. This position is defined by the Treaty to Share the Genetic Commons, which is available through the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org). The implications of corporate takeover and the resulting monopolization of genetic intellectual property by the bioengineering industry are immense.

15. We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A consumer has the right to know the contents in their food and fiber, how they were produced, and where they come from. Labels should address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production, transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.

This adapted from the 2004 platform

For More Information:
Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

Friday, July 28, 2006


I was asked a blunt question – do you support or oppose tax cuts?

Of course the answer is not as simple as the question – because those taxes are used for something.

Do I support letting the roads deteriorate so that we can cut taxes? No.

Do I support letting our schools fall into disrepair so that we can cut taxes? No.

On the other hand, should we fork over huge quantities of money to wealthy corporations to entice them to locate factories or stores in our state? I’m tired of watching state and local governments be bullied into concessions amounting tens of thousands of dollars per job created or retained. At what point does this stop making sense? Maybe the wealthy companies should pay us for the privilege of using our land and our workforce.

Another use of government money that could easily be trimmed is the farm subsidies. Too much subsidy money is going to too few operators. Any one farm should be limited in the amount of crop subsidies they get from the government. The resulting savings could be returned in the form of a tax cut.

If we intend to take in less money via taxes, we need to be looking for other sources of revenue to finance government programs. For example, a well-crafted pollution control law with heavy fines for causing fish-kills could bring millions of dollars into the Iowa treasury each year from CAFOs with poorly managed manure control. That money could be used to pay for the clean-up of municipal water, resulting in a tax reduction to the town-folk who otherwise would have to pay to clean up their drinking water. And it will help to stimulate sales of fishing licenses (another source of revenue) since fishing is a lot more fun if there are fish to catch.

Another huge impact to the treasury is my plan for Universal Healthcare for all Iowans. When the state assumes the job of financing healthcare, the costs of running hospitals and paying doctors will come from the state treasury, and we will need to raise that money. If we take the existing payroll deductions that currently are going to the insurance companies, and instead direct that money into the state fund for universal healthcare, that will be more than adequate to cover the program. By simplifying the system of distributing funds, we will eliminate the expenses created by multiple insurers with different rules, which are often designed to avoid payment. Further efficiencies will be achieved by the non-profit status of the organization, limiting the amounts earmarked as profits, marketing expenses, and other forms of compensation. So while taxes will go up, the overall amount spent for health care will be less, so the total cost to the Iowans will go down. So if they say I am for raising taxes, that is true, but I am for raising taxes in order reduce your overall cost of living – and I think everyone can see the benefit of that.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Universal Health Care

45.8 million people in the US didn't have health insurance during all of 2004-
15.7% of the US population.

277,000 Iowans didn't have health insurance during 2004 - 9.5% of the Iowa

Health care should be a right, not a priviledge. Health Care should be available to everyone, like the public streets and the public schools.

As governor I would enact single payer health care for all Iowans.

I will model my plan after the Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance

We need to tweak it a bit, since the Physician's plan is a national plan, and we can only affect things at the state level.

Predatory Lending

Throughout its history, Iowa has had strong restrictions on banking, protecting consumers from predatory lending. This began to fall apart when the US Supreme Court ruled in 1978 in the case of MARQUETTE NAT. BANK v. FIRST OF OMAHA CORP., 439 U.S. 299, that the state of Minnesota could not enforce its more stringent limits on interest rates (12% APR) on credit cards issued from a company from Nebraska, which has less stringent laws. Since there are states (South Dakota and Delaware) that have no limits on interest rates, this decision effectively nullified any limits on interest rates, and ushered in the era of credit card debt, payday loans, and several shady borrowing schemes that we have today.

The Supreme Court in its decision wrote:

Though the "exportation" of interest rates, such as occurred here, may impair the ability of States to maintain effective usury laws, such impairment has always been implicit in the National Bank Act and any correction of that situation would have to be achieved legislatively.

So that’s what I’m proposing we do. According to Wikipedia,

Twenty-four states have passed anti-predatory lending laws. Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Carolina are among those states considered to have the strongest laws. Other states with predatory lending laws include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Iowa should join this list

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Burlington Hawkeye Interview

Amy Tabor, the reporter, is an energetic young woman with unnaturally red curly hair – at least that’s what it was when I met her. She’s got a great smile and a keen interest in whatever is at hand. First she ushered us in to the photographer’s studio and they took a very nice picture of Rick and I together. Then we went into a conference room and began discussing the campaign and the issues.

It was the first time that Rick and I have campaigned together, and it went great! Rick was a Republican, became disillusioned with the Republican Party and switched to Green, whereas I was once a Democrat. It’s a great combination as we can address issues from both sides. Amy was really interested in CAFOs, which she had never heard of before. Although the details of manure management are not for the squeamish, she was intrigued. We discussed several other issues, which all come out in the newspaper article:

The Burlington Hawkeye July 26, 2006 Candidates Say Their Ideas Greener

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In Burlington, July 25th

This morning I talked with JK Martin for the radio station KBUR. I gave him about 10 minutes worth of material on the issues. He was very friendly and supportive. He plans to run the spot tomorrow.

I have an appointment with the Burlington Hawkeye newspaper this afternoon.

This evening I'll be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, 7:00 PM.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

News about the campaign

The Burlington HawkEye July 23, 2006

Cedar Rapids Gazette July 22, 2006

Daily Iowan July 3, 2006

Galesburg Register Mail June 28, 2006

Green Party Press Release June 22, 2006

Green Party Press Release June 12, 2006

Cedar Rapids Gazette Article

Here's the article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. I think it is very good. The picture is not so great.

Green candidate offers alternative
Wendy Barth doesn’t mind if opponents steal her ideas
By James Q. Lynch The Gazette

Wendy Barth has no illusions of winning the election, but sometimes when the Green Party candidate for governor looks at what’s happening in Iowa, she ‘‘feels’’ like Greens have scored some important victories.

‘‘When I drive across western Iowa and see all those wind turbines, it feels like a victory,’’ says Barth, an active Green since Ralph Nader captured her attention in 2000.

Renewable energy — long a priority with pro-environmental Greens — now is a priority with Democrat Chet Culver

and Republican Jim Nussle, with both gubern a t o r i a l candidates t a l k i n g about making Iowa the renewable energy capital of the country.

‘‘It’s great that it’s getting talked about,’’ she says.

The major party candidates also are talking about health care, which has been a Green issue for some time, Barth says.

Likewise, the recent emphasis on improving Iowa’s water quality is an idea Greens and their allies have been championing for years.

The fact that Nussle and Culver are talking Green doesn’t bother Barth at all.

‘‘My campaign would be a success if either party stole my platform,’’ says Barth, 46, of Cedar Rapids, who as a software engineer for 15 years worked on 3-D animation and avionics.

Barth, the president of Women for Peace Iowa, has left her job to devote herself full-time to the campaign and to what she calls ‘‘planting the seeds’’ for a sustainable future.

Barth’s campaign is all about ‘‘future focus,’’ something Republicans and Democrats lack.

Iowans now are given a choice between the lesser of two evils, and Barth wants to offer an alternative.

Admitting she’s a novice at campaigning, Green says she’s spending time meeting Iowans in small groups, such as at farmers markets and visits to activities on the Iowa City Ped Mall, and at Green Party events around the state.

Barth is still gathering the 1,500 signatures she needs to get on the November election ballot.

She can’t say what her campaign budget will be but knows it will be millions less than what Nussle and Culver spend.

‘‘The amazing thing is that they will spend those vast amounts of money and not say a thing,’’ Barth says. ‘‘I’ll spend a small amount of money and say as much as I can.’’

Maybe, she adds, ‘‘I’ll make the other guys take a stand.’’

She’s heard all the reasons why third-party candidates can’t win but believes that if all the people who didn’t vote for Rep. Ed Fallon in the Democratic primary for governor because ‘‘he can’t win’’ had voted for him, he would be the Democratic nominee.

‘‘I want to get Iowa out of the ‘lesser of two evils’ mindset,’’ Barth says. ‘‘When I started to vote Green, it felt good. It feels really good, especially if you can’t see the difference between the Democrats and Republicans.’’

As she campaigns, she tells Iowans that if they see the governor’s race as a horse race, they should bet on — or vote for — who they think will win.

If they’re looking for better government, they should vote for the person who ‘‘really represents what you believe in, who will do things the way you want to see things done.’’

What Barth and Iowa Greens want to see done is investment in a sustainable economy, universal health care, stopping the pollution caused by confined animal feeding operations, protecting abortion rights, recognizing same-sex marriages and restoring usury laws to protect Iowans from predatory lending.

So even if she doesn’t win, Barth says, ‘‘I’ll have given people something to think about. I’ll have made people aware they have options and have given people something to believe in.’’

The more votes she gets, she says, the more likely it is that one of the major parties will steal her Green ideas.

And that, Barth says, would be a victory in itself.

Contact the writer: (319) 398-8375 or james.lynch@gazettecommunications.com

Cliff Jette/The Gazette Green Party gubernatorial candidate Wendy Barth collects signatures Wednesday at the farmers market at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids. Barth, the president of Women for Peace Iowa, needs 1,500 signatures in order to be added to the November election ballot.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Interview with the CR Gazette

Yesterday I met with James Q Lynch, political reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. We talked for a long time, about third parties, about the reasons for my campaign and what I hope to accomplish, about the role of Governor and what I would do differently. He took lots of notes - maybe 10 pages? He seemed to take me seriously, as we discussed the issues of the day.

We talked about the mindset of picking a winner - he expressed the belief that people choose who they will vote for based on who they think will win. If you are betting on a horse race, that's the best strategy, but when you are voting, you really should be thinking about how you want to be governed, and vote accordingly. The larger the percentage of votes that go to the also-ran parties, the more the vested interests will take note of the issues that were presented.

There was one question that he struggled to phrase, which goes something like, "don't you think that the farmers will just plant fencerow to fencerow if ..." I guess he's looking for an Ag policy from me that promotes limits on production. Switchgrass as a fencerow to fencerow crop would not be so bad, since it is a perennial that does not require tilling, and as it is a prairie plant, i.e. a component of the native vegetation, and therefore may little or need no chemical assistance.

The overproduction of corn, which has been going on for some time, could be curtailed by limiting the amount of subsidies that any one farm (whether individual or corporate) can get from the government. We should set a limit to the number of acres of corn per farm that is subsidized. Any amount that you plant after that limit is purely speculative. We could reduce the surplus corn by tightening this limit. So long as the supply exceeds demand, we have this tool to control production. (Note: we have not used this tool, instead we have destroyed the market for Mexican corn farmers by dumping our subsidized corn on their market. Consequently, they give up farming and come north looking for work. Meanwhile our food processors look for ever more ways to use corn syrup, which is contributing to obesity.) The argument seems to be, if suddenly the market price were higher than the cost of production, say with a new market such as the corn-based ethanol for fuel, then the demand for corn could get so high that farmers will plow up highly erosion-sensitive land and use more toxic chemicals in pursuit of the wealth to be had. Are people really afraid of the free market in this way? Must the market price be kept artificially low in order to prevent unsustainable farming practices? (As if.) Maybe I still don't understand the question.

Realize that things change - we once considered it our responsibility to feed the world, since overpopulation in other nations meant that they could not feed themselves. Such was the justification for creating the farm subsidies in the first place. Several decades have gone by, and both India and China have turned this situation around. They are now producing enough food to provide for themselves. Also, realize that we could feed seven times as many people if we fed them grain directly instead of the meat that was fattened on the grain. So fear that the fuel market will compete with the food market is a bit of a red herring. Perhaps the question will eventually be put to consumers: would you rather eat meat or drive your gas-guzzling vehicle? Phrased in a more friendly tone: If we could find more fuel-efficient means of transportation, we could eat higher on the food chain. (I didn't offer the contents of this paragraph in the interview. Put it on the list of things I should have said.)

In the discussion of my eventual tenure as governor, the first question is how would I get things done. The Dems and Reps have two parallel governments, one that is active and the other standing in the wings ready to take over if when their side wins the election. The Greens admittedly have very little of this infrastructure. Of course, if I win this year, the state house will not have any overt Greens (although there are no doubt a few stealth Greens that have snuck in under the banner of one of the other parties.) I'll need to surround myself with experts who can implement my policies, and I'll have to draw from people of other political parties. I'll draw my energy advisors from I-RENEW, who are very knowledgable.

Here is where a gender difference caught my attention. In adressing the question, among other things, I said that the governor was "sort of a cheerleader", and Mr.Lynch responded, "the governor sets the agenda." Perhaps this is the mistake the other W made. He thought the job would be easy. And really it's not going to be easy. The support for my campaign has been invigorating. Will the support for my tenure be as strong?
It is encouraging that the at Mr. Lynch takes me seriously enough to ask the question. Will he dismiss me as under-prepared, or will he hearald my ideas? I am anxious to see the article, which may come out as early as this weekend in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

CCI Convention

Last night I went to the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) statewide convention in Des Moines. Here is a group that is always invigorating to be involved with. Here is a group that believes in democracy, and here is a group that stands up for what is right. I am impressed with their victories against big polluters, against preditory lending, and for worker's rights. I was warned before I went that although CCI claims to be non-partisan, they would not be friendly to a 3rd party candidate. However, I was warmly welcomed, with many friendly faces and opportunities to discuss issues. Of course there were a few who were not interested, that's inherent in the nature of democracy.

As I passed out my brouchure to the people dining on the excellent locally-grown dinner, I got no objection. Many people came up to me after reading my brochure and encouraged me in my efforts.

The Keynote Speaker, Lewis Latham, had harsh words for both major political parties. He brought a very definite east-coast view on events and politics, and I was surprized to hear him suggest that the Democratic Party ought to dissolve, as the Tory Party did over a century ago. He did not offer an opinion as to which party should replace them, however.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Emma Goldman Clinic Tour

The Wendy Barth for Governor Campaign staff took a tour of the Emma Goldman Clinic and had a discussion with Karen Kubby, Executive Director of EGC. First of all, Karen pointed out that the majority of their clients come for routine gynecological care, rather than abortion. EGC provides contraception, tests for sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy tests. The tour proceeded as Karen described for us each step of the visit for a typical abortion client. It soon became clear that there are no typical abortion clients - Emma takes an interest in each situation and provides personalized counseling prior to the procedure to be sure that the appropriate solution is achieved. Karen described situations where women were unsure of their decision, where Emma refuses to proceed until the issues were resolved. Take, for example, the case where a minor is pregnant and wants to keep the baby, but her parents bring her to the clinic and want her to abort. In such circumstances, EGC refuses to perform the procedure, which infuriates the parents.

We discussed parental notification and parental permission. Iowa currently requires notification to the parents of minors seeking abortion, but not necessarily permission from the parents. Some people are pushing the legislature to require parental permission as well. Karen believes they should also require parental permission to give birth. (Note that the young woman didn't need parental permission to get pregnant.) Families in this situation have clearly have issues they need to work out. I'm not convinced that government intervention is particularly helpful.

We discussed organizations that help women with unintended pregnancies, that are run by people who oppose abortion. These organizations can be helpful for a woman who wants to keep the baby or go with adoption, however, they give false statistics and scientificly inaccurate statements designed to scare women away from abortion. They claim that abortion causes sterility, for example. Karen cited a Bosnian woman who has had 13 abortions - in her homeland, there was birth control available. 13 abortions - clearly the first 12 had not made her sterile!

Emma counsels each client on a wide variety of birth control methods available and helps clients decide on a method that will work for them in their individual circumstances and lifestyle, so hopefully the clients won't ever need another abortion.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gay Marraige

Well, I hadn't intended to make it a big issue, but it is becoming an issue, so I'll blog a bit about it.

Marraige is many things to many people. There's a religious or spiritual side, there's a legal side, there's a cultural side.

On the religious side, each faith makes its own rules deciding whose unions they will sanctify with their marriage rituals. Discrimination is rampant, and that's entirely okay. Catholic priests, for example, will not perform marraiges for people who aren't Catholic. The state does not insist that Catholic priests perform weddings for Mormons or Jews. They are free to decide. The state stays out of these decisions. Religious issues such as this do not belong in the Constitution.

On the legal side, marraige is a formal identification of the person you want to be considered your next-of-kin. This is the person that you want to be notified when you are in trouble. Should you be in a medical emergency and unable to make decisions for yourself, this is the person that you designate to be making these decisions for you. This is the person you would grant power of attorney to. I can see no reason why the state should insist that your next-of-kin must be someone of the opposite sex. In a society where men and women have equal rights, such as ours, it would serve no legal purpose.

On the cultural side, marraige is the statement that you are not interested in getting romanticly involved with anyone else - you have settled on an exclusive relationship. Gay lifestyle (if there is one 'gay lifestyle') changed dramaticly because of the AIDS epidemic. The consequences of casual sex went from trivial to life-threatening. Gays who wish to save their lives have abandoned the promiscuity which they previously enjoyed. However, such lifestyle changes are not easy. It is easier to live out a commitment to fidelity if your community recognizes that commitment and reinforces it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Seeking the Greening of Iowa

Here's an article about my campaign, published in the Daily Iowan
Seeking the Greening of Iowa

Seeking the Greening of Iowa
Leah Dorzweiler - The Daily Iowan
Issue date: 7/3/06 Section: Metro

Amid the sea of jazz aficionados who flocked to the Pentacrest this past weekend for live music and outdoor ambiance, a handful in attendance came with political agendas.

Clipboards in hand, representatives of Iowa's Green Party filtered through the crowds, seeking enough signatures to put their candidate for governor, Wendy Barth, on the Iowa ballot in November.

Iowa City resident Holly Hart, the secretary of the Iowa Green Party, estimated that upwards of 800 signatures had been collected statewide as of Sunday evening. A minimum of 1,500 signatures of Iowa voters from at least 10 different counties will be needed by Aug. 13 to get the party's candidate on the ballot.

Although Hart admitted Barth's chances of winning the gubernatorial race were similar to "a lightning-strike probability," she insisted there were valid reasons to petition for her candidacy.

"We want to make sure our party's platforms are known to Iowa voters," Hart said. "We hope to put pressure on the major parties to take our issues into consideration."

The Iowa Green Party website states the party is committed to environmentalism, nonviolence, universal health care, election reform, and decent wages for workers, among other issues.

Jay Robinson, the Iowa Green Party's 2002 gubernatorial candidate, garnered only 1.4 percent of total votes, falling short of the 2 percent needed to retain official political party status - thus forcing the minority party to petition for candidacy in the 2006 election.

The Iowa Green Party decided to support Barth's petition after Rep. Ed Fallon, D-Des Moines, the party members' favorite Democratic candidate, lost the early June primary election to Secretary of State Chet Culver, Hart said. The Greens were particularly opposed to Culver's support of the death penalty, she added.

Barth said her campaign particularly advocates stronger regulation of "factory farm" hog lots, taking the National Guard troops out of federal control, and developing sugar beets and switchgrass - rather than corn - for ethanol use.

"Corn is not really optimal for ethanol use, whereas switchgrass, a prairie grass native in Iowa, could be harvested at 1,000 gallons [of oil] per acre," Barth said, although she added that the technology for switchgrass' synthesis into ethanol still needs to be worked out.

Peverill Squire, a UI political-science professor, said Iowa historically has not supported third-party candidates, but a push for candidacy is not necessarily unwarranted.

"Third parties are always useful for trying to get attention for issues that might otherwise get ignored," he said.

E-mail DI reporter Leah Dorzweiler at: