Government's problem is 'greed gone wild,' potential presidential hopeful tells York County group

FORT MILL -- York County has already seen several of the major party candidates for president, and Thursday night Jerusalem Baptist Church on Steele Street played host to another potential 2008 hopeful.

Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia was in town to stump for Bryan Smith, a local Green Party member running for Fort Mill's at-large Town Council seat. The Greens hope to recruit McKinney to run as their presidential candidate next November.

"One vote makes a difference, every vote counts," McKinney told the small crowd.

To illustrate the point, she pointed to the first vote on funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 2006 election. She was the only House Democrat to lose her seat in 2006, and that vote passed with 218 votes, the bare minimum that constitutes a majority.

"If I had been there, the war funding would have failed, and we could have moved on and be talking about other issues now," McKinney said.

McKinney is now a member of the Green Party, though she has been working with Greens for several years. She speaks at Green Party conventions, raises money for Green candidates and has even gone door-to-door campaigning for some.

She has not said whether she will seek the Green Party presidential nomination, but she says she's definitely interested.

McKinney said it became clear to her after the Democrats gained the majority in Congress but still failed to end the U.S. military occupation in Iraq that her values and those of the Democratic Party were in different places.

"Greed gone wild, that's what the problem with our government is," she said.

Green Party members live their values, she said.

"They don't preach about their values one day and go out and live something different the next," she said. "They are what you see."

York County Green Party Chairman Gregg Jocoy invited McKinney to Fort Mill after reading about her talks with groups in other states. Her message to those audiences was to run for whatever elected office is open, he said.

To make the Green Party viable on a national level, Jocoy said, those local elections are important.

"We've got to help people get over the hump of people saying, 'I can't see myself voting for someone who is a member of the Green Party,'" he said.