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Stein’s grass-roots campaign planted in Fields Corner

Gubernatorial candidate opens headquarters

By Emma Stickgold
Globe Correspondent / May 16, 2010

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They wore green armbands, some with white polka dots, and ate cake with green frosting, intermittently chanting “Jill, Jill, Jill.’’ As they opened Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein’s campaign headquarters in Fields Corner yesterday, supporters were urged to look to an unlikely source of inspiration: Republican Scott Brown.

“Keep Scott Brown in mind when you are out there,’’ campaign supporter Pat Keaney told the packed room of the Dorchester storefront office.

Although Brown and Stein represent different political views, many other supporters used Brown’s election as US senator, which initially seemed virtually impossible in the weeks after the death of Edward M. Kennedy, to bolster their case for why disaffected Democrats should back their candidate.

Stein, a Lexington doctor who ran for governor in 2002 and secretary of state in 2006, drew loud cheers when she talked about getting more funding for Boston’s neighborhoods, after the fatal shooting of Jaewon Martin, 14, on Parker Street.

“The Democratic Party is not fixing these problems,’’ she said.

Stein characterized the three leading gubernatorial candidates — Governor Deval Patrick, Treasurer Tim Cahill, and Charles D. Baker — as “three CEO candidates’’ who would be “business-as-usual’’ governors.

Supporters said they were drawn to the campaign for its liberal agenda, particularly its anticorporate bent.

Sporting a green “Jill Stein’’ bumper sticker on his wheelchair, Stephen John Wuschke of Quincy, a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said he was searching the Internet for progressive causes to get involved with when he found the Stein campaign.

“I like the fact that she’s anticorporations and wants to work for the people,’’ he said.

Stein’s running mate, Richard Purcell of Holyoke, said that as he seeks signatures to put their team on the ballot, he has been able to tap into voter frustration with a two-party system to win over people’s support.

City Councilor Chuck Turner said the Democratic and Republican parties are too dependent on corporate financial backing, adding that as soon as people hear Stein’s message, she will have the support she needs to capture electoral victory in November.

“What we need are candidates who really are looking at what’s in the best interest of people, not the corporations,’’ he said.

Delisha Dew, 39, of Dorchester, said that while the campaign may have a lot of work ahead, she and her family are not daunted by the challenge the grass-roots effort entails: “We need more funding for our children. If she tries hard enough, she’ll get it done.’’

Stein, who won 3.5 percent of the vote in her run for governor and 18 percent in her run for secretary of state, said in an interview last night that the grass-roots political pump was primed by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, but that the progressive agenda has been largely ignored by incumbent Democrats.

“Grass-roots organizing has come of age — people have been through two cycles of bogus, false organizing, and have been abandoned after their hard-fought victory,’’ she said.