Laura Wells (born January 2, 1948) was a Green Party candidate for the 2010 Governor's race in the State of California. Wells is a former financial and business analyst, and political activist in Oakland, California. She supports making significant changes to Proposition 13 and to the current super-majority voting rule in the Sacramento legislature. In 2002 she garnered nearly a half million votes in her run for California State Controller. At the last 2010 Gubernatorial debate in California, which excluded all third party candidates, Wells was arrested upon attempting to enter the building to watch the debate.
Background and education
Laura Wells was born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan. She earned her BA from Wayne State University in Detroit in 1969, where she was a scholarship student, majored in foreign languages, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society. Wells earned a Masters of Education at Antioch University, and later worked in finance, business analysis and computer programming.
Wells has resided in California for more than 30 years. She has one daughter, Natalia, born in Oakland, now a musician and graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Wells is engaged to Charles Goodwin, a former probation counselor in the juvenile division.
Politics and public service
Wells has served in numerous county and state-level leadership positions in the Green Party of California since she registered with the Green Party in 1992. She was a founding member of the Green Party County Council in Alameda County (1992–94; 2002–04) and co-founder and managing editor of the national Green Party newspaper, Green Focus (2002–2004).
In 2006, Wells served on the executive committee of the "IRV for Oakland" (Instant Runoff Voting) campaign while running for State Controller. IRV is a voting system in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, rather than selecting only one candidate, a method which eliminates the so-called spoiler effect in elections. Wells helped garner support for IRV from Oakland Congressional Representative Barbara Lee and other local representatives of most political parties in Oakland, including Greens, Libertarians, Peace and Freedom, Republicans, and Democrats. In November 2006, IRV achieved 69% voter approval. And on January 5, 2010, The Oakland City Council voted to adopt IRV for its mayoral and council elections.
In 2002 and 2006, Wells ran campaigns for State Controller, receiving 419,873 votes in 2002, the most ever for a Green Party candidate in a statewide partisan race in California. In 2009, and says, "I may run until we win!" Wells appeared on the Fox News program "Your World" several times to discuss tax fairness in California.
Wells has also participated in five international delegations to Canada and South America to study innovations in participatory democracy and new constitutions, and has broadly worked in a range of volunteer and professional capacities for community and labor organizations, including Pesticide Action Network (North America), Women's Economic Agenda Project, and SEIU United Healthcare Workers (West). she co-founded Green Focus, a party newspaper.
2010 campaign for California Governor
In January 2010, Laura Wells announced her candidacy for governor of California in the 2010 election.Wells won the Green Party primary on June 8, 2010 with over 78% of the votes.
Wells' campaign emphasized the California budget and tax issues, particularly Proposition 13, passed during Jerry Brown's tenure as governor, which she says must be changed, in part because it primarily benefits corporations over individuals. In a position paper on Proposition 13, Wells wrote:
Prop. 13, in 1978, was promoted to California voters as a way to reduce taxes and to stop fixed-income seniors and others from losing their homes due to escalating property taxes. Since then, the bulk of the "tax relief" goes places the voters never intended--giant corporations. Corporate properties are rarely re-assessed since corporations don't die and seldom sell.
Wells also favored lowering the margin needed to pass a budget and raise taxes in the state from two-thirds to a simple majority. She supported increasing funding for education, and the use of a 'split-roll tax' to keep cap residential property taxes while allowing higher property taxes for businesses. In a January 2010 interview with The Sacramento Bee discussing her views on taxes and the budget in California, Wells stated:
The two parties, the Democrat and Republican parties, do not address the root causes of the problem," Wells said. "That's off the table for them.... To get what we want and to have the revenue that pays for it we need to have a budget that makes sense.
Wells has also addressed the difficulty that third parties have in running candidates for state elections:
...she says [the difficulty for third parties] is a result of the "locked-down" system the Democrats and Republicans have put in place. As a case in point, she said she had to pay ,000 for a 300-word ballot statement when she ran for state controller in 2006, a fee she said blocks minor-party candidates from running.
Wells supports a Single Payer Universal Health Care solution for California, and if given the opportunity, says that she would gladly sign SB 840 (the Single Payer bill introduced by State Senator Sheila Kuehl) into law.Wells also supports the use of clean, sustainable, local energy, including publicly owned utilities, Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and localized (distributed) electricity generation, instead of nuclear power or carbon sequestration.Wells also opposes government bailouts of large corporations and banks and proposes the creation of a State Bank for California which could partner with local banks and credit unions, and potentially improve their ability to lend. Other Green Party candidates, such as the 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, also support a State Bank proposal.
Wells has been endorsed by San Francisco for Democracy  and numerous elected officials, described at her campaign website.
Arrested at debates
On October 12, 2010, Laura Wells was given a ticket to watch the California gubernatorial debate at Dominican University in San Rafael by a friend of hers and used it to enter the building. Wells was initially allowed in, but upon being recognized as the Green Party gubernatorial candidate, she was approached by security and asked to surrender the ticket on the grounds that it was not issued to her, but to her friend. When she refused to surrender the ticket, she was handcuffed and taken from the building and put into a police car. She was later released.Wells stated:
Republicans and Democrats will go to any lengths, even arresting candidates, to keep the truth from California voters. There are solutions, but voters aren't being allowed to hear from independent candidates.
- ^ Chang, Jack. "Green Party's California gubernatorial candidate steps up". Retrieved 2010-02-03. "The Sacramento Bee", Saturday January 16, 2010
- ^ a b "Gubernatorial candidate arrested outside debate Tuesday night". Retrieved 2010-10-13. "The San Jose Mercury News", Wednesday October 13, 2010
- ^ a b "Laura Wells, Candidate for State Controller; State of California, November 5, 2002 Election". Smartvoter.org. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- ^ Wells, Laura (Winter 2007). "Instant runoff voting wins big in Oakland". Green Pages. 11 (1).
- ^ Rayburn, Kelly (January 6, 2010). "Instant-runoff voting a go for Oakland". The Oakland Tribune.
- ^ "Laura Wells, Candidate for State Controller; State of California, November 7, 2006 Election". Retrieved 2010-02-03. Smartvoter.org
- ^ a b c "Green Party Speakers Bureau: Laura Wells". Retrieved 2010-02-03. Greenparty.org
- ^ Cavuto, Neil (April 1, 2009). "Green Party: Tax the Rich". Your World. Fox Business News. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- ^ Cavuto, Neil (November 18, 2009). "Have the Rich Pay for Health Care". Your World. Fox Business News. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- ^ "Candidate Biographical Statement for GPCA State Coordinating Committee". greeningca.org. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- ^ a b Chang, Jack. "Green Party's California gubernatorial candidate steps up". Retrieved 2010-02-03. "The Sacramento Bee" Saturday January 16, 2010
- ^ "California Semi-Official Election Results: Governor - Statewide Results". Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-09. California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, Tuesday June 8th, 2010 Semi-official Election Results
- ^ Wells, Laura "Prop 13 means bad luck for California". Retrieved 2010-02-03. Smartvoter.org, Position Paper, 2002 Candidate for Controller; State of California
- ^ Chang, Jack. "Are frustrated Californians ready to go Green?". Retrieved 2010-02-03. "The Sacramento Bee" Capitol Alert, Friday January 15, 2010
- ^ "Laura Wells for Governor, Platform: Healthcare – Key Themes". Retrieved 2010-02-03. LauraWells.org, Platform
- ^ "Laura Wells for Governor, Platform: Energy and Climate – Key Themes". Retrieved 2010-02-03. LauraWells.org, Platform
- ^ "FAQs: STATE BANK FOR CALIFORNIA". Retrieved 2010-03-08. LauraWells.org, Platform
- ^ "San Francisco for Democracy: Endorsements". Retrieved 2010-05-08. sf4democracy.org