Against all odds

Socialist Workers Party candidate stumps in Craig

A woman campaigning as the vice-presidential candidate for the Socialist Workers Party stumped for votes in Craig on Wednesday.

Arrin Hawkins' affiliation with a little-known third party is the least of the obstacles between her and the White House.

Hawkins' name won't appear on Colorado's ballot because at 29, she isn't old enough to serve as president. The Constitution stipulates that the president must be at least 35 years old. In Colorado, if candidates are ineligible to serve as president, they can't run for president, either.

Nor will the name of her running mate, presidential candidate Roger Calero, appear on the Colorado ballot.

Calero was born in Nicaragua, and the president must be native born.

But the pair of Socialists are not letting these obstacles stop them from spreading their message of workers' rights and energy development for poor nations.

Nor will they stop after Tuesday.

"This is what we do 365 days a year, and it's not going to stop on Election Day," Hawkins said during an interview at the Socialist Workers Party headquarters in Craig.

While campaigning, Hawkins talked to grocery workers at City Market and Safeway, where employees soon may strike. In the evening, she gave a speech after a dinner reception at the party's headquarters.

Because Calero and Hawkins can't run in Colorado, James Harris and Margaret Trowe will stand in for them. Socialist Workers Party members encourage voters to support the Socialist Workers ticket regardless of the candidates on the ballot.

"Vote for the ticket. Vote for the Socialist Workers Party. The right to be on the ballot is a large part of our campaign," said Jose Aravena, a member of the Craig chapter of the party.

If she and Calero are elected, Hawkins said it would be "a small thing" to change the U.S. Constitution to allow them to serve.

With its proximity to coal mines and power plants, Craig is an ideal location for the Social Workers Party, Hawkins said.

The local chapter has helped support the co-op miners, who said they received pay as low as $5 an hour to work in life-threatening conditions.

Members attended rallies and held a fund-raiser in Craig to support the miners, who have returned to work at the mine in Price, Utah.

Such grass-roots support of laborers is a key plank in the party's platform, Hawkins said.

Hawkins also advocates the development of nuclear energy for poor countries, including North Korea, Brazil and Iran. The Bush administration has denounced the efforts of those countries to become nuclear powers.

But those countries can achieve financial stability only if they have dependable access to electricity, Hawkins said.

When asked if it weren't dangerous to allow so-called "rogue" nations such as Iran and North Korea to development nuclear power for fear they'd use it to build nuclear weapons, Hawkins said the countries wouldn't have an incentive to build bombs in a socialist world.

Hawkins stressed that Americans don't need to vote for a Republican or Democrat, only choosing the lesser of two evils.

The motto of her campaign is, "It's not who you're against, but who you are for!"

The election is Tuesday.

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