Pelto bids for Green Party nomination in 2nd District

Jonathan Pelto during his appearance May 20 on WNPR's "Where We Live."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Jonathan Pelto during a 2014 appearance on WNPR’s “Where We Live.”

Jonathan Pelto, a former five-term state representative and public education advocate, announced Tuesday he plans to seek the Green Party’s nomination for the 2nd District congressional seat.

In his campaign announcement, Pelto said he is not running in opposition to incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who he said has an “extremely admirable” voting record in Congress. Instead, he said, he is running to encourage higher voter turnout in the district and to promote discussion of taxation and education issues.

“I’m running for Congress as a Green Party candidate because this year’s election is so critical for sustaining the future of our democracy,” Pelto said. “Uncontested and under-contested elections reinforce apathy, and this year, perhaps more than any other in recent memory, we need every voter to understand what is at stake and participate by voting.”

Pelto unsuccessfully ran as an independent candidate for governor in 2014, failing to reach the required number of petition signatures to get on the ballot.

He served as a state representative from Mansfield from 1985 to 1995.

Pelto plans to campaign on higher taxes for large corporations and the wealthy, saying they should be required “to pay their fair share.” He also said he opposes the privatization of public education and hopes to come up with a federal solution to high student debt.

Should Pelto win the Green Party nomination, he will join Courtney and Republican nominee Daria Novak in the race. The Green Party’s 2nd District nominating convention will be held on July 30 in Mansfield.