Jill Ellen Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician, activist, and politician. She is currently the Green Party‘s presumptive nominee for President of the United States in the2016 election. Stein was the nominee of the Green Party for President of the United States in 2012, and was twice a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts—in 2002and 2010.
She received 469,501 votes in 2012 (0.36% of the total votes), more than any other female general election candidate. On June 22, 2015, during an appearance onDemocracy Now!, Stein formally announced she would seek the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.
Early life and education
Jill Stein was born in Chicago, the daughter of Gladys (née Wool) and Joseph Stein, and was raised in Highland Park, Illinois. She is Jewish, and her family attended Chicago’s North Shore Congregation Israel, a Reform synagogue. Her parents were both from Russian Jewish families. Stein is married to Richard Rohrer, who is also a physician. They live in Lexington, Massachusetts, and have two adult sons. Although Stein was raised in a Reform Jewish household, she now considers herself agnostic.
In 1973, Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, sociology, and anthropology. She then attended Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1979. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Stein practiced internal medicine for 25 years. Stein practiced medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Simmons College Health Center, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and also served as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Stein retired from practicing and teaching medicine in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Stein at a protest against coal-powered energy production
As a medical doctor, Stein became increasingly concerned about the connection between people’s health and the quality of their local environment and decided to turn her focus to activism in 1998 when she began protesting the “Filthy Five” coal plants in Massachusetts. Stein’s 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 and she later testified in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination. Since 1998, she has served on the Greater Boston board of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Under Stein, the Greater Boston chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility partnered with Boston University‘s Superfund Research Program as part of BUSRP’s Community Outreach Core and became a key member of the Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative. In 2003, Stein co-founded and served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization that addressed a variety of issues important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy. Stein also founded and served as co-chair of a recycling committee in her hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, the Lexington Solid Waste Action Team, that was approved by the Board of Selectmen and later featured in the textbook Approaches to Sustainable Development: The Public University in the Regional Economy. In 2008, she helped formulate a successful “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.Other organizations Stein has worked with include Clean Water Action, Toxic Action Center, Global Climate Convergence, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Massachusetts Medical Society. She received the “Not in Anyone’s Backyard Award” in 1998 and the “Children’s Health Hero Award” in 2000 from Clean Water Action, and the “Citizen Award” from Toxic Action Center in 1999 and the “Friend of the Earth Award” from Salem State College in 2004.
As a medical doctor and researcher, Stein has published several materials and teaching plans, and has testified before legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies. In 2000, she co-authored the scientific report In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, and in 2009 co-authored the report Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging. These reports have been widely cited and translated into numerous languages. She has also co-authored articles about health in publications such asThe Huffington Post. In 2009, Stein developed a teaching plan called “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” that was supported by Boston University and has been presented at other schools and universities.
Stein is also an advocate for campaign finance reform. In 1998, she helped campaign for the Clean Elections Law in Massachusetts.The law was later repealed by a Democratic majority legislature, leading Stein to leave the Democratic party for good and join the Green Party. Stein was one of several activists involved with the Clean Elections Law to file a complaint in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County in 2002 against William F. Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, over the state’s failure to successfully implement the law. Stein has also served on the board of MassVoters for Fair Elections and has campaigned for implementing instant runoff voting in Massachusetts.
Alongside her political career, Jill Stein also developed multiple musical albums with co-star Ken Selcer in the folk-rock band Somebody’s Sister. Jill is able to play the conga and djembe drums  and guitar. During the 1990s and 2000s, the duo released four studio albums: Flashpoint, Somebody’s Sister, Green Sky, and Circuits To The Sun. Many of the songs focus on issues similar to those Stein emphasizes in her political career: peace, justice, and climate action. The pair also often performed at live events, such as the 2008 Green-Rainbow Convention in Leominster, Massachusetts. The band was twice named semi-finalists in Musician‘s contest of best unsigned bands in 1996 and 1998.
Electoral campaign history
State and local campaigns
Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2002
Stein was the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and finished third in a field of five candidates, with 76,530 votes and about 3.5% of the vote. Stein won positive reviews for her performance in the debates, leading supporters of the Democratic nominee to purchase the rights to jillstein.org in an attempt to divert attention back to their nominee.
Massachusetts House of Representatives candidate, 2004
Following her third-place results in the 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial election, Stein ran for state representative in 2004 for the 9th Middlesex District, which included portions of Waltham and Lexington. She received 3,911 votes for 21.3 percent of the vote in a three-way race, but lost to the incumbent Thomas Stanley, who received 59.6 percent.
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth candidate, 2006
Stein was nominated for Secretary of the Commonwealth on March 4, 2006, at the Green-Rainbow Party statewide nominating convention. In a two-way race with the Democrat Bill Galvin, a three-term incumbent, Stein received 353,551 votes for 18% of the total vote.
Town of Lexington Town Meeting Representative, 2005 and 2008
Lexington, Massachusetts has a town meeting-style government. Stein was elected to the Town Meeting Seat, Precinct 2 (Lexington, Massachusetts) in March 2005 local elections. She finished first of 16 candidates running for seven seats, receiving 539 votes, for 20.6% of the total vote.  Stein was re-elected in 2008, finishing second of 13 vying for eight seats.
Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, 2010
Jill Stein announcing her candidacy for governor in February 2010
On February 8, 2010, Stein announced her entrance into the gubernatorial race on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston. She was joined in the race by candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Richard P. Purcell, a surgery clerk and ergonomics assessor, of Holyoke.In May, Stein opened her campaign office in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, near the Fields Corner MBTA station. Stein received 32,816 votes out of 2,287,407 cast, 1.43% in the November 2, 2010 general election, finishing last.
Jill Stein speaking at Occupy Wall Street, September 27, 2011
In August 2011, Stein indicated that she was considering running for President of the United States with the Green Party in the 2012 national election. She responded to a published questionnaire, saying that a number of Green activists had asked her to run; she was considering it after the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis, which she called “the President’s astounding attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—a betrayal of the public interest…”. In the survey, she said she would announce her intentions by the end of September 2011. Stein later said she would announce her decision on October 24.
On October 24, 2011, Stein launched her campaign at a press conference in Massachusetts, saying,
We are all realizing that we, the people, have to take charge because the political parties that are serving the top 1 percent are not going to solve the problems that the rest of us face, we need people in Washington who will refuse to be bought by lobbyists and for whom change is not just a slogan.
In December 2011, Ben Manski, a Wisconsin Green Party leader, was announced as Stein’s campaign manager. Her major primary opponents were Kent P. Mesplay and Roseanne Barr. Stein’s signature issue during the primary was a “Green New Deal“, a government spending plan intended to put 25 million people to work. Her primary opponent Mesplay for being too unrealistic, saying, “This will take time to implement, and lacks legislative support.”
Stein became the presumptive Green Party nominee after winning two-thirds of California’s delegates in June 2012. In a statement following the California election, Stein said, “Voters will not be forced to choose between two servants of Wall Street in the upcoming election. Now we know there will be a third candidate on the ballot who is a genuine champion of working people.” Stein was endorsed for President in 2012 by Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent, among others. Linguist Noam Chomsky said that he would vote for her but urged those in swing states to vote for Obama.
On July 1, 2012, the Jill Stein campaign reported it had received enough contributions to qualify for primary season federal matching funds, pending confirmation from the FEC. If funded, Stein would be the second Green Party presidential candidate ever to have qualified, with Ralph Nader being the first in 2000. On July 11, 2012, Stein selected Cheri Honkala, an anti-poverty activist, as her running mate for the Green vice-presidential nomination. On July 14, 2012, Stein received the official nomination of the Green Party at itsnominating convention in July in Baltimore.
On August 1, 2012, Stein, Honkala and three others were arrested during a sit-in at a Philadelphia bank to protest housing foreclosures on behalf of several city residents struggling to keep their homes. Stein explained her willingness to be arrested:
The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators.
On October 16, 2012, Stein and Honkala were arrested after they tried to enter the site of the presidential debate at Hofstra Universitywhile protesting the exclusion of smaller political parties, such as the Green Party, from the debates. Stein likened her arrest to the persecution of dissident Sergei Udaltsov in Russia. On October 31, Stein was arrested in Texas for criminal trespass, after trying to deliver food and supplies to environmental activists camped out in trees protesting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
During her campaign for the presidency, Stein repeatedly asserted that there were no significant differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. She said, “Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing, Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.” She called both of them “Wall Street candidates” asking for “a mandate for four more years of corporate rule”.
She received 469,501 votes for 0.36% in the election, making her the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history.Stein received 1% or more of the popular vote in three states: 1.3% in Maine, 1.1% in Oregon, and 1.0% in Alaska.
Stein speaking at a campaign event in Mesa, Arizona.
On February 6, 2015, Stein announced the formation of an exploratory committee in preparation for a potential campaign for the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2016. On June 22, 2015, Stein formally announced her candidacy for the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. After former Ohio state senator Nina Turner reportedly declined to be her running mate, Stein chose human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate on August 1, 2016.
During the campaign, Stein has asserted that it is “hard to say” whether Trump or Clinton is the “greater evil”. She has asserted that the “two corporate parties”, the Democratic party and the Republican party, have converged into one and the same party. On Mother’s Day 2016, Stein suggested that Clinton did not “reflect the values of being a mother”. Stein has put great emphasis on attracting Bernie Sanders supporters to her campaign. She has, for instance, claimed to have a 99% match with Bernie Sanders on ISideWith, a political quiz on political stances.
Stein has said that the political changes desired by Sanders supporters transcend party interests, and that the Democrats could never fully deliver on them anyway: “[Y]ou cannot have a revolutionary campaign inside of a counter-revolutionary party”. Stein has been endorsed by Union Theological Seminary Professor Cornell West, one of Bernie Sanders’ appointees to the Democratic Platform Committee, who stated in an interview, “If Hillary Clinton can’t make the case to progressives, she doesn’t deserve our vote. . . . [Y]ou can’t just be a non-Trump and deserve one’s vote.” Stein has said that the best way to stop “neofascism” is to stop Hillary Clinton’s “neoliberalism“, noting that “Putting another Clinton in the White House will fan the flames of this right wing extremism. We have known that for a long time, ever since Nazi Germany.”
Bernie Sanders has urged his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton, noting that the United States is not a multi-party parliamentary system and that “you’re gonna end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump.” In July 2016, Donald Trump stated that a vote for Stein would be good for him: “I think a vote for Stein would be good — that’s the Green Party. Because I figure anyone voting for Stein is gonna be for Hillary. So I think vote for Stein is fine.”
According to Forbes tax blogger Peter J. Reilly, Stein has yet to release her tax returns. Having promised in an October 2012 interview to release her tax returns during her 2012 campaign, she never did. She last released her tax returns when she ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010.
Stein has polled as high as 7% in general election polling (a June 2016 poll). A PPP poll released on 30 July 2016 showed her trailing behind a non-existent candidate called “Independent Harambe” (referring to the dead gorilla) with 5% versus 2% in general election polling. The same poll found 33% of Trump voters thought Hillary Clinton had a connection to Lucifer.
Referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal approach to the Great Depression, Jill Stein advocated for a “Green New Deal” in her 2012 and 2016 campaigns, in which renewable energy jobs would be created to address climate change and environmental issues; the objective would be to employ “every American willing and able to work”. Stein said she would fund the start-up costs of the plan with a 30% reduction in the U.S. military budget, returning US troops home, and increasing taxes on areas such as speculation in stock markets, offshore tax havens, and multimillion-dollar real estate. She claimed both in 2012 and 2016 that a 2012 study in the Review of Black Political Economy by Rutgers professor Phillip Harvey shows that the multiplier economic effects of this Green New Deal would recoup most of the start-up costs of her plan. Stein claims that her plan “will end unemployment and poverty”.
Stein’s 2016 platform says that she will “democratize the Federal Reserve“. In Stein’s 2012 platform, she wanted to “nationalize” the Federal Reserve and place it within the Treasury Department, ending its independence. Stein has argued that the Wall Street bailout was unconscionable, and a “waste”. In 2012, Stein opposed the raising of the debt ceiling, arguing that the U.S. should raise taxes on the wealthy and do spending cuts to offset the debt.
Stein supports the creation of sustainable infrastructure based in clean renewable energy generation and sustainable communities principles, in order to improve or avoid what she sees as a growing convergence of environmental crises in water, soil, fisheries, and forests. Her vision includes increasing intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, creating ‘complete streets’ that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic, and regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture.
Stein doubts official employment numbers. In the 2015 State of the Union Green Party response, Stein alleged that unemployment figures at the time were calculated in a manner so as cover up unemployment, and that the real unemployment rate in 2015 was around 12-13%. In February 2016, she claimed, “real unemployment is nearly 10%, 2x as high as the official rate.”
Stein has spoken in favor of cancelling all student debt, arguing that it could be done “using quantitative easing” and without raising taxes. She says that quantitative easing “is a magic trick that basically people don’t need to understand any more about than that it is a magic trick.” Stein claims that her plan would be “the stimulus package of our dreams to put to work a whole generation of young people that’s held hostage in debt”. She has said that her campaign will do for the “43 million young people trapped in predatory student loan debt” what “our mis-leaders saw fit to do for Wall Street when they bailed them out to the tune of 16 or 17 trillion dollars using so called quantitative easing“. She opposes school privatization.
Energy and environment
Stein proposes to make the United States transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Stein supports a national ban onfracking. She has spoken against nuclear energy, saying “nuclear energy is dirty, dangerous and expensive, and should be precluded on all of those counts.” In 2012, Stein asserted, “three times more jobs are created per dollar invested in conservation and renewables. Nuclear is currently the most expensive per unit of energy created.” Stein says that she will “ensure that any worker displaced by the shift away from fossil fuels will receive full income and benefits as they transition to alternative work.” She wants to “treat energy as a human right”.
Stein wants to cut U.S. military spending by at least 50%. Stein wants to close US overseas military bases, claiming that these bases “are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire”. She wants to replace the lost military jobs “with jobs in renewable energy, transportation and green infrastructure development.” She wants to “restore the National Guard as the centerpiece of our defense”.
Stein has argued that the United States “helped foment” a coup in Ukraine. She maintains that Ukraine should be neutral and that the United States should not arm Ukraine. Regarding disputes in the South China Sea, Stein has said that “it is wrongheaded for [the United States] to deal with territorial rights on the borders of China.” Stein has claimed that the United States “pursued a policy of basically encircling Russia–including the threat of nukes and drones and so on.” On the subject of NATO, Stein tweeted, “Who exactly is NATO fighting? …Other than enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff.”
Stein has been highly critical of Israel, accusing the Israeli government of “apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law.” Stein supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. She has called Benjamin Netanyahu a “war criminal”.
Having initially spoken in favor of the UK leaving the European Union in her official statement on the referendum outcome, Stein later changed her official statement (without indicating so on her website), saying “Before the Brexit vote I agreed with Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and the UK Greens who supported staying in the EU but working to fix it.”
Stein calls for pardoning Edward Snowden, and has said that she will put him on her Cabinet if elected President.
When asked if she considered President Obama a war criminal, Stein responded, “Do I think he has violated international law? Good lord, yes!”
In 2012, Stein favored maintaining current levels of international aid spending.
Stein is in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), replacing it with a “Medicare-for-All” healthcare system. Stein has claimed that it is an “illusion” that Obamacare is a “step in the right direction” towards single-payer healthcare.
She has been critical of subsidies that go towards unhealthy food products. She also criticized “agri-business” for their advertisements which encourage unhealthy eating. She has asserted that due to agri-business, Greeks no longer have the healthy diets that they used to.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Stein stated that “vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases,” but noted that not all “issues” or “questions” around vaccines had been addressed or resolved. She said, “There were concerns among physicians about what the vaccination schedule meant, the toxic substances like mercury which used to be rampant in vaccines. There were real questions that needed to be addressed. I think some of them at least have been addressed. I don’t know if all of them have been addressed.” The Guardian notes that “research has shown schedule-related concerns about vaccines to be unfounded, and that delays to vaccines actually put children at greater risk. Anti-vaxx campaigners often claim there are dangerous compounds in vaccines, though decades of safe vaccinations contradict the claim and no evidence shows that trace amounts that remain in some approved vaccines cause any harm to the body.” Stein has suggested that it is reasonable to be skeptical of mandatory vaccinations due to allegedly close connections between corporate interests and regulatory agencies. According to Washington Post, “most members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee work at academic or medical institutions, not drug companies.” In response, Stein has asserted that “Monsanto lobbyists help run the day in those agencies and are in charge of approving what food isn’t safe”. In response to a twitter question on whether vaccines cause autism, Stein tweeted, “there is no evidence that autism is caused by vaccines” but quickly deleted the tweet and tweeted instead, “I’m not aware of evidence linking autism with vaccines.” Emily Willingham, scientist and contributor at Forbes, described Stein’s rhetoric on vaccines as “using dog whistle terms and equivocations bound to appeal to the “antivaccine” constituency”. Dan Kahan, a professor at Yale who has studied public perception of science, says that it is dangerous for candidates to equivocate on vaccines, “Because the attitudes about vaccines are pretty much uniform across the political spectrum, it doesn’t seem like a great idea for any candidate to be anti-vaccine. The modal view is leave the freaking system alone.”
Regarding homeopathic medicine, which the Green Party supported “the teaching, funding and practice of” at the time, Stein noted in May 2016 that “just because something is untested doesn’t mean it’s safe”, but argued that it is problematic that “agencies tied to big pharma and the chemical industry” test medicines. When asked in 2012 about the Green Party’s pro-homeopathic medicine platform, Stein said that the platform took “an admittedly simple position on a complex issue, and should be improved”.
Stein wants “a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe.” However, the Guardian notes that “research shows GM food is generally safe.”
Stein has voiced her opposition to wireless internet (Wi-Fi) in schools, saying, “We should not subjecting kid’s brains especially to that… and we don’t follow this issue in our country, but in Europe where they do, you know, they have good precautions about wireless. Maybe not good enough, you know. It’s very hard to study this stuff. You know, we make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die.”
In 2012, Stein wanted to “slightly decrease” spending on space exploration. She favored maintaining current levels of spending on scientific and medical research.
Stein has stated that she supports reparations for slavery