Hillary Clinton isn’t the only woman breaking records in this year's election.
Dr. Jill Stein, this year's Green Party nominee, holds the current record for most votes ever received by a woman candidate for president of the United States in the general election.
That’s because she also ran in 2012 as the Green Party's nominee, and since her defeat, Stein has not slowed down.
A physician who graduated from Harvard, Stein worked in the medical field for 25 years, until 1988, when she moved into activism. This transition was more seamless than you might expect.
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Stein found connections between people’s health and their environments, specifically in the realm of toxic exposure in the 1990s.
She began working with nonprofits to tackle a few issues: raise the bar nationally for a cleaner standard for coal plants; close a toxic medical waste incinerator; rewrite the Massachusetts fish advisories; and help preserve the suspension of new toxic trash incinerators — none of which were a small task.
As an advocate who describes herself as a “mother on fire,” Stein has run twice for governor of Massachusetts, been a candidate for the Massachusetts House, and made a bid for secretary of the commonwealth. Her only elected offices to date include twice being elected to the Lexington, Mass., Town Meeting — a form of local government not unlike the House of Representatives.
Within her platform for president, she voices her major concerns around issues such as climate change, the legalization of marijuana in all 50 states, abolishing student loan debt, regulating GMOs, and racial justice.
The initiative of Stein's that has drawn the most attention is her plan to abolish student debt. Stein reasons that if the US government could bail out banks after the 2008 crash, then it can also bail out students with loans.
"You don’t pay for it – the Federal Reserve basically cancels the debt, it doesn’t cost taxpayers one penny," she said.
This has caused several to criticize Stein for not having a full grasp of how the bank bailout worked and if the same strategy can be applied to student loans. More recently, John Oliver took Stein to task for this proposal.
“While Jill Stein has said that the president has the authority to cancel student debt using quantitative easing, that is absolutely wrong,” he said. You can watch the full clip here.
“I used to practice clinical medicine. Now I practice political medicine, because it’s the mother of all illnesses. Politics is,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re spending $3 trillion a year not on a healthcare system, but on a sick-care system that tries to patch us up after we’ve been made ill by a variety of institutional things around us — including a sick food system, air pollution, etc.”
Protecting Mother Earth is a priority for Stein. She plans to end destructive energy extraction by excluding fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, and uranium mines. She also wants to protect public lands, water supplies, biological diversity, parks, and pollinators. She hopes doing all of this — what she calls a Green New Deal — will create jobs and move the US in the direction of having 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030.
Stein believes that healthcare is a right for all, and that includes reproductive health care as well. She advocates frequently about equal pay for both men and women, and has been transparent about the struggle to campaign in a political position of power as a woman.
During discussions about racial injustice, Stein says she wants to put an end to racial profiling as she believes it is, “inherently violent and degrading.” She believes that racial injustice is not simply permeated within physical violence, but also riddled within most social institutions where its consequences, particularly in the prison system are still problematic.
Stein is currently running in the polls with 3% popularity from voters, but her fight and messages seem unstoppable.