Two face off for Green Party slot

By Lenora Chu

After Ralph Nader took more than 5 percent of the Minnesota vote in the 2000 presidential election, the Green Party catapulted to major-party status in the state, and this year, its endorsed candidate for governor, Ken Pentel, has a seat at major forums and debates.

The Green Party espouses the environmental cause, and Pentel, a volunteer environmental lobbyist and former Greenpeace advocate, said sustainability is the key to Minnesota's future. Pentel, of Minneapolis, also said he is running for governor because he sees an unwillingness among today's leaders to take responsibility for their policy decisions.

"I've got the winning ideas," Pentel said. "The others are offering 1950s politics, which is consume, consume, consume."


Pentel advocates a universal health care system and would like to see government that's more democratic and more supportive of the local economy.

Richard Klatte said he is challenging Pentel in a primary because "the big corporations have already chosen their four candidates for governor (the major party-endorsed candidates)" and voters need choices.

For Klatte, who was born in San Francisco but has lived in Minnesota for 45 years, the economy is the No. 1 issue. "Once the economy is back in order, everything else falls into line, including the environment," he said. Klatte said Pentel's top issue is clean air, not the economy, marking the big difference between the two.

Klatte works as a freelance video producer and has shot footage for the Green Party and Gov. Jesse Ventura's 1998 campaign. Klatte believes the media has given too much coverage to the four party-endorsed candidates while ignoring the four challengers.


Age: 41

Address: P.O. Box 300124, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Family: Single


Work and education: Hopkins Eisenhower High School, coursework in speech communications at University of Minnesota; six years as Green Party Minnesota's field organizer and fund-raiser, 11 years with Greenpeace, 10 years in restaurant services

Community and volunteer activities: Volunteer Capitol lobbyist on environmental issues

Previous government positions: None

Top three issues:

1. Improving democracy: Promote campaign finance reform, institute instant runoff voting system, preserve existing partial funding system for political candidates

2. Protecting Minnesota resources: Reverse course on air, soil, water and habitat deterioration, halt importation of toxic energy fuels, develop home-grown fuel industry, create 2 to 10 times more jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries

3. Preventing toxic pollution: Gravitate toward a precautionary principle, whereby companies must prove a substance they emit does no harm rather than waiting for humans to suffer from toxicity



Age: 52

Address: 5333 81st Ave. N. Brooklyn Park, MN 55443

Family: Wife, Pamela; two children, Ashley, 15, Brittany, 11

Work and education: B.A. speech communications, University of Minnesota; freelance video producer, parking services worker for University of Minnesota

Community and volunteer activities: Board of directors, Northwest Community TV; host and producer, Third Party Forum

Previous government positions: None

Top three issues:

1. Economy: When the economy improves, everything else, including education and the environment "falls into line." Tax the wealthy and big corporations, "take taxes off" the middle class


2. Education: Localize control of education, flatten "top heavy" bureaucracy, keep funding at current levels but increase accountability for money management

3. Environment: Once the economy improves, corporations will be held accountable for pollution they emit, especially into the nation's water supply

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