Go, West, Young Man
Jason West, a 26-year-old member of the Green Party, is shaking things up in New Paltz, N.Y., where he was elected mayor earlier this month — an outcome that has the local political establishment in a tizzy. West ran on an ambitious environmental platform that rallied support from many students at the State University of New York at New Paltz, of which West is an alumnus. On June 1, West and his two running mates will take control of the village’s five-member board. West’s agenda: curb sprawl, promote solar energy, power government vehicles with soy-based fuel, and purify sewer water by filtering it through artificial wetlands. The defeated incumbent, 71-year-old Mayor Thomas Nyquist (D), is not bowing out graciously. “I always considered myself an environmentalist, too, but what they’re talking about is ridiculous,” Nyquist said. “We have issues that are much more pressing than putting solar panels on Village Hall.” Meanwhile, on the national level, some Green activists are urging the party not to nominate a presidential candidate in 2004, but instead to throw its support behind a Democrat to increase the chances of unseating President Bush.