CHINA (AP) – Having chosen rustic accommodations for its annual convention next month, Maine’s Green Independent Party is trying stay close to its roots.

Members of the party will pay $35 to eat and sleep in tents and unheated cabins at a Quaker camp on China Lake.

Arrangements for the convention, scheduled for June 7 and 8, organizers say, stand in contrast to the hundreds of hotel rooms required to host a mainstream party convention.

“Part of it goes back to us being an environmental party,” said Tim Sullivan, a member of the Greens’ steering committee. “Staying in hotels might be great for the Democrats and Republicans … but we want to create a weekend where people are going to feel relaxed with nature and be part of the environment as opposed to sitting in meeting rooms.”

The convention’s keynote speaker is scheduled to be Roxanne Quimby, a Maine resident who founded Burt’s Bees, a natural personal-care products company she moved to North Carolina several years ago.

Quimby, who has bought about 20,000 acres to anchor a national park in Maine’s North Woods, is expected to discuss her political future. She has expressed interest in running for governor of Maine as a Green candidate, Sullivan said.

Organizers say the convention will also be an opportunity to celebrate the first election of a Green legislative candidate in Maine, John Eder of Portland.

Eder is only the second elected Green state legislator in the country, according to Sullivan. The first was in California.

The party platform, which will be amended before next year’s elections, has planks about economic development, education, energy, health and natural resources.

Unlike other political parties, Maine’s Green Party meets for an annual state convention even in non-election years, Sullivan said.

“It’s an investment in the grass roots, so every single Green who wants to attend can come and vote on the budget and vote on the platform. It’s kind of like a town meeting,” he said.


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