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Wednesday, July 9, 2008 08:14 pm

The skinny on McKinney

Former congresswoman poised to capture Green Party nomination

Cynthia McKinney
During her early days in the Georgia House of Representatives, Cynthia McKinney occasionally sparred with her father, also a Democratic state lawmaker, on several issues, including sodomy. Cynthia wanted to repeal the Peach State’s longstanding sodomy statute; Billy McKinney, whom his daughter affectionately called a Neanderthal and a homophobe, opposed legalizing sodomy. That’s pretty much the skinny on Cynthia McKinney: No issue is too uncomfortable, no viewpoint too controversial. Aside from her history-making feats of becoming the first African-American woman elected to the Georgia House, in 1988, and representing half of the first father-daughter legislative tandem in the state’s history, McKinney has had a legislative career marked by controversies. Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she intimated that President George W. Bush’s administration may have been complicit in the bombings and later described her own party as “the white, rich Democratic boys’ club” whose members wanted her “to stay in the back of the bus.After losing her seat in Congress and regaining it in 2006, McKinney made headlines for socking a U.S. Capitol security officer, whom McKinney accused of racially profiling her. In 2007, she left the Democratic Party. McKinney, 53, brings her brassy brand of politics to the first state to decriminalize sodomy, in 1962, this weekend, when she is expected to receive the Green Party nomination for the presidency. Her task is formidable, however. McKinney’s fundraising committee has just $42,273 on hand as of March 31. Her chief rivals, Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, meanwhile, each raised approximately $21 million in May alone. Nevertheless, Sangamon County Green Party chairman Marc Sanson believes that McKinney is the right person to take the party to the next level. “She’s the first Green Party presidential candidate who’s run several successful campaigns,” Sanson says. “I think she’ll be a fantastic candidate.”
The convention begins today, Thursday, July 10. In addition to McKinney and 2006 Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, scheduled speakers include former Black Panther Party member Malik Rahim, Voices in the Wilderness co-founder Kathy Kelly, Green Party candidate for the Illinois 4th House Congressional District Omar Lopez, Massachusetts physician Jill Stein, and Connecticut Green Party gubernatorial hopeful Cliff Thornton Jr. Sanson, who will attend with four fellow Springfield Greens, says that in addition to a reception for members of Green parties from around the world and a presidential candidate forum — both hosted by Whitney — he’s looking forward to attending party business meetings. “Most Greens — and most voters — realize the opportunity for developing at the state and local level is our best way to go forward,” he says.
Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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