Green Party 2016: Who Is Dr. Jill Stein? Can Bernie Sanders Supporters Back Her For President?

Jill Stein, a Harvard-educated medical doctor, is the Green Party 2016 candidate for president, and with Bernie Sanders now appearing highly unlikely to win the Democratic nomination, some Sanders supporters are promoting Stein as a “Plan B,” thanks to her progressive platform that overlaps in many respects with the policies that Sanders has made the center of his campaign.

But who is Jill Stein, and what exactly are her major policy positions?

Stein was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1950 — she’ll turn 66-years-old on May 14 — and grew up in the wealthy suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, a community of about 30,000 people where the median household income is more than $115,000, over twice the national median.

Stein grew up, like Bernie Sanders, in a Jewish family. But unlike Sanders who started his higher education at the public Brooklyn College before transferring to the University of Chicago, Stein attended Harvard University starting in 1969.

Her education at the elite institution came during a time of student protests against the Vietnam war, and an era of rapid social changes and activism — an atmosphere which helped shape Stein for life.

She describes her undergraduate period as “a historic time…for the University, for women, for the peace movement and the social justice movement.”

The Vietnam War “was a very powerful engine for social engagement,” she told The Harvard Crimson newspaper in a 2015 interview.

After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1979, Stein became a practicing physician with a specialty in internal medicine, but soon became an environmental activist after concluding that many of her patients suffered from illnesses caused by toxic environmental pollution.

In 2002, she entered politics as a Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts, a position she again sought in 2010. She now lives in Lexington, Massachusetts, with her husband. They have two children, both adults.

Other than serving as a town meeting member in Lexington, Jill Stein has never held an elected office — which sets her apart from Bernie Sanders who has served as an elected official for 34 years, longer than any other candidate in the 2016 presidential race.

Stein first ran for president on the Green Party ticket in 2012 — once getting arrested while protesting her exclusion from a presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Her policies, according to the site OnTheIssues.org, rate a maximum 100 score on the “liberal” scale, on both social and economic issues.

That score rates her as slightly more liberal than Bernie Sanders.

Watch Jill Stein explain many of her positions in a call-in session on the C-SPAN network, during an appearance in February, in the video below.

Below are some of her policy statements and positions, according to OnTheIssues.org.

  • Jill Stein denies that an economic recovery has taken place since the 2008 financial crisis, calling the status of the United States economy an “emergency” rather than a recovery.
  • Similar to Bernie Sanders, she says that it is “Un-American” for one percent of the U.S. population to own as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
  • She agrees with Bernie Sanders on his call to break up big Wall Street banks. She also, like Sanders, calls for a tax on Wall Street stock and bond transactions.

Jill Stein breaks with Bernie Sanders on foreign policy, however. Sanders supports the war against ISIS, but says that Saudi Arabia must become more involved. But Jill Stein favors a “peace offensive.”

“A peace offensive basically consists of a weapons embargo, because they’re mostly coming from the U.S,” Stein told Ricochet Media in an interview this March. “We can begin this weapons embargo, and we can also impound the funding that is the bank account of the countries that are funding terrorism.”


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Jill Stein has issued an open invitation to Bernie Sanders to join a “collaboration” with The Green Party in the 2016 presidential campaign. But she adds that because Sanders is attempting to work within the Democratic Party, “that phone call has not been returned and I don’t expect that this will happen.”

[Featured Photo By Win McNamee/Getty Images]