Green Party nominee rallies to reduce military spending

Barry Hermanson’s crusade for Congress started with a giant pie chart painting and a Volkswagen van at the Burning Man festival.

The San Francisco Green Party candidate says he is running solely to reduce Pentagon funding. When he arrived at Burning Man in Nevada last year, he draped over his Volkswagen camper van a 6-foot-by-6-foot painting of a pie chart showing how more than half of the national budget is devoted to the Pentagon and Iraq.

“People would walk by, and their mouths would just drop open,” the 57-year-old said. “Every person in America ought to see this pie chart.”

Hermanson has been obsessed with the chart since he saw it in a newspaper a couple of years ago. He has spent most of his small campaign budget on sending out mailers with the chart. He also takes the chart with him to talk with residents on the campaign trail.

The retired business owner said he would be vocal about reducing the funding in Congress as opposed to being a single vote against allocating the funds for military purposes. He would then like to see the military funds used to invest in health care, education and alternative energy.

“We could be doing lots in our communities — repairing our infrastructure, doing a better job of funding for education, protecting our environment,” he said. “We could be doing all this without raising taxes.”

Hermanson said his main goal is to ensure that he, heavy election favorite state Sen. Jackie Speier or anyone else who represents the district realizes that the area’s residents want to reduce Pentagon funding.

“That’s my goal, and I will do it whether I’m elected or not,” he said.

Hermanson also is optimistic that he can take down Speier in April but said he realizes that, as a potential incumbent, she would likely have the job wrapped up in November’s election.

“Is Jackie Speier actually going to speak out for the people in the district? I think not,” he said.

Hermanson considers himself a champion of rights for working people and co-authored the 2003 San Francisco minimum wage increase initiative. He also served as co-chair of the San Francisco Local Homeless Coordinating Board, co-chaired The City’s Living Wage Coalition and chairs the board of a nonprofit housing group in the Tenderloin district.

Hermanson has never been elected to office. He lost a 2002 San Francisco Board of Supervisors election and then was defeated by Fiona Ma when he ran for state Assembly in 2006.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

Barry Hermanson

Age: 57

Location: San Francisco (Sunset district)

Party: Green

Occupation: Businessman

Experience: Ran for state Assembly and San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Compares himself to: Reps. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Barbara Lee, D-Oakland

Three biggest issues: Reduce military spending, invest in education, fund health care

Would run for seat again? Yes

Web site: www.barryhermanson.org

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