April 18, 2012 in 2012 Spring
Jill Stein, MD
Stein was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Highland Park, Ill. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979.
She is the co-author of two widely praised reports, “In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development,” published in 2000, and “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging,” published in 2009. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats. Stein’s “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” teaching program reveals the links between human health, climate security, and green economic revitalization. This body of work has been presented at government, public health and medical conferences, and has been used to improve public policy.
Stein began to advocate for the environment as a human health issue in 1998 when she realized politicians were simply not acting to protect children from the toxic threats emerging from current science. She offered her services to parents, teachers, community groups and Native Americans seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure. Stein has testified before numerous legislative panels, as well as local and state governmental bodies.
She played a key role in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination. She also helped lead the successful campaign to clean up the “Filthy Five” coal plants in Massachusetts. Her testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state.
Stein has appeared as an environmental health expert on the Today Show, 20/20, Fox News, and other programs. She was also a member of the national and Massachusetts boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her efforts to protect public health has won her several awards including: Clean Water Action’s “Not in Anyone’s Backyard” Award, the Children’s Health Hero Award, and the Toxic Action Center’s Citizen Award. She has twice been elected to town meeting in Lexington, Mass. She is the founder and past co-chair of a local recycling committee appointed by the Lexington Board of Selectmen. In 2003, Stein co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization that addresses a variety of issues that are important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy.
Stein became an advocate for campaign finance reform and worked to help pass the Clean Election Law. This law was approved by the voters by a 2-1 margin, but was later repealed by the Massachusetts Legislature on an unrecorded voice vote. In 2002 activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party approached Stein to run for governor. She accepted.
Stein represented the Green-Rainbow Party in two additional races—one for State Representative in 2004 and one for Secretary of State in 2006. In 2006 she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens—which represented the greatest vote total ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate.
In 2008, Stein helped formulate a “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority. The measure won over 81 percent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.