Presumptive Green Party nominee Jill Stein has selected anti-poverty activist Cheri Honkala as her running mate.
Honkala is National Coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, described as “one of the country’s largest multi-racial, inter-generational movements led by the poor and homeless.”
She has spent nearly three decades working to build the movement to end poverty, and has extensive experience in organizing marches, demonstrations and tent cities.
In 2011, Honkala waged her first and only campaign for public office. Running as the Green Party’s candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia, she finished third in a three-way race with about 7% of the vote. Her central campaign theme was a promise to halt all evictions in the city of Philadelphia.
The choice seems a bit unconventional for Stein, who many expected would go with a more established rank-and-file Green Party member like Howie Hawkins or Rich Whitney. Some also speculated that Stein would reach out to actress Roseanne Barr, who waged her own unsuccessful campaign for the Green presidential nomination.
Honkala is a colorful figure who has talked openly about her years as a stripper, telling Philadelphia Weekly during her campaign for Sheriff that she “had to work in the sex industry, actually, until very recently.”
One possible factor in Honkala’s selection is the looming petitioning deadline for achieving ballot access in Pennsylvania. It seems likely that Jill Stein’s new running mate will bring the organizational tools to table needed to get that job done.
This will be the second consecutive election in which the Greens have fielded an all-female ticket for President and Vice-President.