We The People
A Declaration of Independents
Political reformer Jeff Peters plans Coalition of third party advocates

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM the March 15, 2001 edition of THE MOUNTAIN EAR NEWSPAPER OF CONWAY, N.H. (603) 447-6336. All rights reserved. Copyright Mountain Ear newspaper.

By Gabrielle Griswold

WE THE PEOPLE INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE Jeffrey Peters has not let his failed bid for the presidency this past November slow down his efforts at electoral reform and campaign finance reform.

Far from it. The Jackson (NH) resident is off to Manchester (NH) the weekend of March 17 to 18 to head up an effort to form a coalition of Independent individuals and organizations, in hopes that such a coalition may lay the groundwork for an eventual third party proactive in pursuit of reform goals.

"WHAT WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT IS THE SIGNING WE PLAN OA A SECOND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. THE FIRST DECLARATION WAS FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM KING GORGE III, AND THIS ONE WIL BE FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM BIG MONEY AND SPECIAL INTERESTS." (Jeffrey Peters- We The People/2000 Independent Presidential Candidate)

As evidenced by the debacle of the last presidential election, Peters believes the need for political reform is greater than ever.

"If the time isn't right for reform now," he said last week, "it never will be. With all we've seen these past few months, it's clearly time to re-evaluate the electoral college and move toward direct election of the president: one person, one vote."

SPONSORED BY WE THE PEOPLE, the Manchester meeting on the 17th and 18th will be run by Peters, who has invited the participation of all third party leaders and members nationwide, as well as (all of the) citizens' movements and Independent voters.

"We've also invited John Anderson, who was the first Independent candidate in 1980, and the more recently successful Independent candidates, Gov. Angus King from Maine, Gov. Jesse Ventura from Minnesota and U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders from Vermont. While we don't expect all of them to attend, we feel it's important to be inclusive," Peters said.

Peters has received attendance confirmations from former Sen. Mike Gravel, author of the "Direct Democracy Initiative," and from former Independent candidate for governor of Vermont, Gus Jacacci, as well as from members of the Alliance for Democracy and the Independent Progressive Political Network.

"What we're excited about," Peters notes, "is the signing we plan of a second Declaration of Independence. The first declaration was for independence from King George III, and this one will be for independence from big money and special interests. It will also be for a National Coalition of Independents."

To date, he said, no one has refused the invitation to participate.

"Our hope," he continued, "is to have 39 signatories to the new declaration, the same number that signed the first one. We're trying to keep it simple to gain a consensus on a maximum of three issues that we can all agree on and remember, so as to work for a successful completion of those."

The three main issues include independence from big money and special interests; electoral reform (direct election of the president, uniform ballots, free ballot access and instant run-off voting for all federal elections); and campaign finance reform (voter financing and free television time for all viable candidates).

"We think of this declaration as making a first snowball, taking it up to the top of Mt. Washington and rolling it downhill," Peters explained. "The document will be passes from hand to hand by mail, fax, and Internet to Independents all across the country, and the list of signers will grow over time."

THE NEXT STEP ENVISAGED by Peters is the possible merger of four political parties (We The People, the Natural Law Party, the Independence Party of Minnesota, and the non-Buchanan wing of the Reform Party), which would simultaneously help with disseminating the declaration and assist in forming the coalition of Independents, to be followed by the establishment of an as-yet-unnamed third party.

"We hope that potential members of this new party to be formed will come from the National Coalition of Independents," said Peters, noting that the coalition is designed to allow each individual and each entity, whether a member of a citizens' movement or a third party, to maintain its own identity if so desired, while sharing similar ideals.

"Some people don't want to merge into a new party, and it's their right not to," he explained. "But those who are willing to do so would merge into the new party and take that party's name. That will be the next step for We The People."

Such a third party would definitely run a presidential candidate in 2004, Peters said, seeking the coalition's endorsement of this (as yet undesignated) individual beforehand.

"I really do believe there's a groundswell of public opinion in favor of a third party candidate," he noted. "It takes only 34 percent of the vote to win in a third party race and, if the American people see there's a third alternative, I think they will see it as a potentially winning alternative. In the past, people have often shied away from third parties because they believe they're a losing cause, but I think this will make a difference."

ONCE THE NATIONAL COALITION OF INDEPENDENTS becomes a fact in Manchester this weekend, "We will be working on a date, ideally in mid-April, for coming together to form an executive committee for the new party," Peters said. "At that time, we \will give it a name. In fact, the Natural Law Party, the Independence Party of Jesse Ventura and the non-Buchanan wing of the Reform Party have approached me and said they've been looking for a new name and that they like the name We The People."

Whatever the third party's eventual name turns out to be, Peters believes "This is really an opportunity to make history – which extends to each and every Independent minded voter in the next presidential election. Meanwhile, every citizen is invited to join us in Manchester and to participate in this democratic process, which is free and open to the public."

(Editor's note: For additional information about We The People's electoral and campaign finance reform objectives, or to learn more about the March 17-18 Manchester meeting agenda, call Peters at (603) 383-4285 or go on-line to:

The three main issues include independence from big money and special interests; electoral reform (direct election of the president, uniform ballots, free ballot access and instant run-off voting for all federal elections); and campaign finance reform (voter financing and free television time for all viable candidates).

"We think of this declaration as making a first snowball, taking it up to the top of Mt. Washington and rolling it downhill," Peters explained. "The document will be passes from hand to hand by mail, fax, and Internet to Independents all across the country, and the list of signers will grow over time."

THE NEXT STEP ENVISAGED by Peters is the possible merger of four political parties (We The People, the Natural Law Party, the Independence Party of Minnesota, and the non-Buchanan wing of the Reform Party), which would simultaneously help with disseminating the declaration and assist in forming the coalition of Independents, to be followed by the establishment of an as-yet-unnamed third party.

"We hope that potential members of this new party to be formed will come from the National Coalition of Independents," said Peters, noting that the coalition is designed to allow each individual and each entity, whether a member of a citizens' movement or a third party, to maintain its own identity if so desired, while sharing similar ideals.

"Some people don't want to merge into a new party, and it's their right not to," he explained. "But those who are willing to do so would merge into the new party and take that party's name. That will be the next step for We The People."

Such a third party would definitely run a presidential candidate in 2004, Peters said, seeking the coalition's endorsement of this (as yet undesignated) individual beforehand.

"I really do believe there's a groundswell of public opinion in favor of a third party candidate," he noted. "It takes only 34 percent of the vote to win in a third party race and, if the American people see there's a third alternative, I think they will see it as a potentially winning alternative. In the past, people have often shied away from third parties because they believe they're a losing cause, but I think this will make a difference."

ONCE THE NATIONAL COALITION OF INDEPENDENTS becomes a fact in Manchester this weekend, "We will be working on a date, ideally in mid-April, for coming together to form an executive committee for the new party," Peters said. "At that time, we \will give it a name. In fact, the Natural Law Party, the Independence Party of Jesse Ventura and the non-Buchanan wing of the Reform Party have approached me and said they've been looking for a new name and that they like the name We The People."

Whatever the third party's eventual name turns out to be, Peters believes "This is really an opportunity to make history – which extends to each and every Independent minded voter in the next presidential election. Meanwhile, every citizen is invited to join us in Manchester and to participate in this democratic process, which is free and open to the public."

(Editor's note: For additional information about We The People's electoral and campaign finance reform objectives, or to learn more about the March 17-18 Manchester meeting agenda, call Peters at (603) 383-4285 or go on-line to: www.WeThePeople-WTP.org)


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