Strafford resident, former selectboard member, and self-described avid gardener Stephen Marx announced his candidacy for governor of Vermont earlier this year.
Marx filed as an independent on April 23, making him the first person, and sole independent so far, to seek gubernatorial candidacy in the 2018 race in Vermont.
Voicing concerns around Supreme Court rulings that recognize corporate personhood, Marx said he plans to emphasize promoting the “rights of nature” during his campaign.
“I feel that in order for us to survive and prosper we really need to take care of the earth. If we put our energy into taking care of the earth, since we are part of that, we will take care of ourselves,” said Marx.
He added that his biggest priority, if elected, would be to add an amendment to the Vermont Constitution giving the earth legal protection, although, he added, he doesn’t yet have a clear vision as to what the specifics of such an amendment would be.
“I’m working with [Vermont Law School] … professors to create an amendment that could pass,” said Marx.
Adding a “rights of nature” amendment to the state’s constitution could help attract more people— particularly young people—to the state, said Marx.
Marx collected 650 signatures from voters across Vermont over the course of about a month-and-a-half, to sign his petition to file as a gubernatorial candidate.
Although the state only required Marx to collect 500 signatures to file his petition for candidacy, Marx said he wanted to get more, so that there was no question as to the legitimacy of his candidacy.
Marx noted that he hopes to run his campaign without raising money.
“I’d like to show that real people really can run and make a change without a lot of money.”
If it seems too difficult, he would consider fundraising, Marx said, but emphasized that he would “never accept corporate sponsorship.”
Independent candidates do not have a primary for which to prepare and so have a later deadline to register their candidacy.
Major party candidates were required to register with the Secretary of State’s office in May.
On this year’s Democratic and Republican primary ballots will be James Ehlers (D) of Winooski, Christine Hallquist (D) of Hyde Park, Phil Scott (R incumbent) of Berlin, Brenda Siegel (D) of Newfane, Ethan Sonneborn (D) of Bristol, and Keith Stern (R) of Springfield.
The primary will take place this year on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Independent and minor party candidates appear only on the general election ballot and are not required to register until the Thursday prior to the primary (August 9 this year).
The Herald does not generally profile gubernatorial candidates prior to the primary election, however an exception has been made for Marx, due to his local residency.
-- ZOË NEWMARCO