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Campaign Update: W.Va. Gubernatorial Smith to speak at West Liberty University on Oct. 2

Students for Democracy and Socialism Host Candidate Forums

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Sept. 26, 2019 — West Liberty University welcomes two candidate forums next week, hosted by the Students for Democracy and Socialism. Both forums take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 1 and 2, in College Hall and are open to the public.

Stephen N. Smith

Green Party candidate for president, Howie Hawkins, Syracuse, N.Y., will speak on Tuesday. (

Democrat Stephen Smith, a gubernatorial candidate from Charleston, W.Va., will speak on Wednesday. (

Hawkins was the first U.S. candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010 after having participated in the first national meeting to organize a Green Party in August 1984.

According to his website, ( he was active in the movement for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s. Committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist, and ecological society, he supported the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, the People’s Party in 1972 and 1976, and the Citizens Party in 1980.

He was the Green Party’s candidate for governor of New York in 2010, 2014, and 2018 and has been a candidate for local office in Syracuse. He is the editor of “Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate” (Haymarket Books, 2006).

Smith is 38-years-old and for the last six years, he has served as director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition.

Smith states on his website that he’s running because “Everywhere in West Virginia our people are showing that the impossible is possible by taking power back into their hands. What if we had a State government that honored this power and these people, instead of undercutting them? I’m running because we can build that government together.”

He and his wife Sara formerly resided in Chicago. “We loved it there but we wanted to live near family and we wanted to live in a place that felt like home. But if you want to be part of something that is bigger than yourself – a neighborhood, an extended family, a movement, you can’t beat West Virginia.”

The Students for Democracy and Socialism began last January on WLU’s campus and meets weekly throughout the academic year. 

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