"I want to help build a viable multiparty democracy."
By Gregory B. Hladky
October 26, 2010
Ken Krayeske is an activist/gadfly/journalist/law student who says he’s having “a blast” running as the Green Party’s long-shot candidate in the First Congressional District.
“My chances [of getting elected] may not be good now,” admits the 38-year-old candidate, “but I want to help build a viable multi-party democracy, and the only way … is to take chances.”
Krayeske, who once worked for this paper, is perhaps best known for getting himself arrested by Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s security detail for photographing Rell during a parade, and getting dissed by University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun for asking if Calhoun was considering giving back part of his salary to help out with the state deficit.
(The charges in the Rell incident were dropped, but Calhoun’s “Not one dime” quip appears in a Krayeske campaign ad.)
Krayeske has worked on third-party campaigns in the past and knows the odds are stacked against his first-time candidacy. He’s up against incumbent Democrat John Larson (who’s also been endorsed by the Working Families Party), Republican Ann Brickley, and the Socialist Action Party’s Christopher Hutchinson.
Despite his lefty credentials, Krayeske resists being categorized along traditional political spectrum lines and he doesn’t like the term “fringe candidate.”
“Whether you talk about the left, the right or the center, they’re moving targets,” he argues.
One example he uses is that, during the Republican Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, the top federal income tax rate on the very wealthy was in the 90-percent range, a figure he says many liberals would find hard to accept today. (The top rate now is 35 percent.)
“When I said government is good at the debate the other night, the Tea Partiers laughed at me,” Krayeske says, explaining he is “dead serious” about the essential role that good government must fulfill.
“I believe that education is a human right, and that health care is a human right,” he says.
Acknowledging that third parties will always be hopelessly outmatched by the big special interest or self-funded money going to major party candidates, he says there is a way to compensate for that lack of cash. “We just have to build armies of concerned voters,” he explains.
Krayeske believes third parties are a way to avoid the political gridlock that the Democrats and Republicans have imposed, and he fears what will happen if the public anger and frustration out there continues to build.
"Hopelessness breeds extremism and I fear violent extremism in any form,” Krayeske says.