Election More Than Just About Emmer, Horner, Dayton

The names Tom Horner, Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer are becoming well known across Minnesota, but four other names are on the state’s governor ballot, too, and they are almost unknown.

Ken Pentel of the Ecology Democracy Party, Farheen Hakeem of the Green Party, Linda Eno of the Resource Party and Chris Wright of the Grassroots Party also will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot, but are not waging campaigns at the levels of the three major parties.

Pentel’s name is the best known of the minor party candidates, but he switched allegiances since he last ran for the office four years ago. That was the third time he ran under the Green Party banner; this year he seeks office with the newly created Ecology Democracy Party.

“I have seen the place I love treated with disrespect and I must respond,” Pentel said. “It’s a call to conscience to take responsibility where others have not.”

Pentel bases his candidacy on environmental issues. He calls for an “ecology-based economy … and removing big money and corporate interference with our government.”

He proposed that Minnesota create an alternative currency to the dollar.

“Complementing the federal dollar with a zero-interest Minnesota currency, that circulates within our boundaries and is redeemable in state taxes, offers the people of our state the monetary security they desire and deserve,” Pentel said.

This year’s Green Party candidate is Hakeem, who said that “government plays a major role in the quality of life for all people” and needs of the people are not being met.

Hakeem promised to “bring more community involvement” to state government.

She proposes immigration reform that provides better treatment and respect, and she wants to redistribute Minnesotans’ wealth “by taxing people with higher incomes and assisting low-income families and individuals get back on their feet.”

Hakeem also backs equal rights for the gay community and creating a state-owned bank and wind energy company.

For 25 years, Wright has fought to loosen the state’s marijuana laws.

“At least we can run a marijuana candidate,” Wright said.

“As a candidate that supports the legalization of marijuana and an end to the drug war, if elected, I have the best chance of raising revenue without raising taxes or cutting spending,” Wright said. “Instead of insisting on gangster distribution and the subsidizing of criminals, like my reprehensible opponents, I intend to regulate distribution and tax substances, just like liquor.”

Wright also promotes using hydrogen as a fuel.

Eno, who did not respond to a request for information, says on the Resource Party Web site that a Mille Lacs Band lawsuit hurt her family resort business, and closed at least 40 others.

She accuses the major political parties of forming alliances with American Indian tribes to get money.

“The Resource Party will continue to educate taxpayers about how unconstitutional it all is and how the Indian people were deprived of their rights by being declared incompetent in the late 1800s without a competency hearing,” Eno said. “Ever since, the rich and powerful have used them to control territory and our nation’s valuable resources.”

Besides the names listed on the Nov. 2 ballots, a handful of candidates such as Leslie Davis, Sherif Mansour and John Uldrich registered to have their write-in votes counted.

 Farheen Hakeem

Green Party

Age: 35

Home: Minneapolis

Political experience: National Green Party co-chairwoman

Other background: Community organizer; math teacher

College education: Oberlin College, bachelor’s in mathematics

Family: One foster child

 Chris Wright

Grassroots Party

Age: 53

Home: Edina

Political experience: Grassroots Party co-founder; 5th Congressional District candidate, 1988; governor candidate, 1998

Other background: Computer technician in the 1990s

Education: Washburn High School; University of Minnesota; Northwestern Electronics Institute

Family: Single father with 10-year-old daughter

 Ken Pentel

Ecology Democracy Party

Age: 49

Home: Golden Valley

Political experience: 11 years as a grassroots organizer with Greenpeace; 12 years organizing with the Green Party; 18 years lobbying at the state Capitol; three times Green Party governor candidate

Education: Hopkins Eisenhower High; three years at the University of Minnesota; Santa Monica Community College

Family: Single