STRAFFORD — Strafford's health officer is running for governor on a platform centered on "the rights of nature."
On April 23, Stephen Marx, a former member of the Strafford Select Board, filed as independent, the first person to file his candidacy for the governor's office in Vermont in 2018.
"U.S. Supreme Court rulings have recognized the rights of people and of corporations as persons," said Marx. "I believe that the earth should be treated in the same way in a court of law. We need to take care of the earth so that we ourselves can thrive. We are part of the earth; taking care of it, we take care of ourselves. My campaign is intended to bring attention to this important issue, to help people understand it and how it can change the state in a positive way. Vermont would be the first state to give rights to the earth. Governments in other countries have granted rights to their land, their rivers. We can do it here, too."
Marx's main priority, if elected, would be to pass an amendment to the Vermont Constitution that grants the earth legal protection. He also feels such an amendment would be beneficial to the economy.
"I believe protecting the rights of nature would attract young people to Vermont," Marx said. "Youth will come in because Vermont will be attractive as a place where nature has standing. We can integrate the concept of earth rights with the economy."
Marx also supports universal health care.
"Health care should be a right," he said. "We all get sick, and people are living much longer. You shouldn't have to be rich to get health care. There should be quality health care for all."
Marx intends to finance his campaign himself, accepting donations only if necessary. He has stated that he will never accept any form of corporate funding or sponsorship.