cliffandjeanChristine Stuart photo
A Willimantic resident who is probably best known for organizing a local street festival will join the Green Party’s ticket as its lieutenant governor candidate. Jean de Smet, 51, (pictured right) will run alongside Cliff Thornton (pictured left), the Green Party’s candidate for governor. de Smet who announced her candidacy Monday at the state Capitol is an electrician by day and politically active in her spare time. She said her closet isn’t filled with designer clothing, “it has blue jeans and work boots.”

A self-proclaimed blue collar employee, de Smet said she represents part of the ever-shrinking middle class in the state and believes she represents the “voice of the people,” in her desire to create a single-payer health care program, end the war on drugs, create affordable housing, support sustainable energy, and improve the economy.  “The role of lieutenant governor is to be a moral compass to the governor,” she said. de Smet has also been a successful local activist. She fought to prevent mercury-laden medical waste from being burned at the Windham Energy Recovery Facility in North Windham and stopped construction of a statewide ash landfill along the Shetucket River in Windham Center.Many in eastern Connecticut in towns like Willimantic and Windham feel de Smet is strong candidate, Tim McKee, who sits on the Green Party’s national committee said Monday. She may not be as popular as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Mary Glassman, but McKee said it’s possible she will help the Green Party win Windham and New London. He said in 2005 in a local three way race for first selectman de Smet came in second. He said the party has raised an estimated $15,000 to $20,000, “more than it ever has before,” and is taking the race very seriously. Thornton who is leading the Green Party’s ticket has been out campaigning in the state seven days a week and de Smet has been out there on the weekends shaking hands with voters. It’s still unknown whether the Green Party candidates will be included in the televised debates. To learn more about de Smet click here and here to learn more about the party’s other candidates.