ALBANY, N.Y. — In a country nearly 8,000 miles away from the United States, being a member of the Green Party carries no stigma, no automatic dismissal by the press or pollsters, no brushoff from other parties.
Instead, what set Lynne Serpe apart in New Zealand, where she worked as a national voting reform coordinator, was her American accent. It made her so recognizable she didn’t have to introduce herself on the phone. But it wasn’t just the novelty of being an American that made her an important player in politics.
Serpe said that New Zealand regularly has five political parties at the negotiating table — including the one she belongs to: the Green Party. “And they get things done,” said Serpe, who helped set up instant runoff voting in the island nation and did advocacy for Green Party legislators.
Serpe hopes her work on community initiatives — not her accent — will help her stand out to voters in Queens’ 22nd City Council District as she campaigns as the Green Party candidate to replace Peter Vallone. Serpe is involved in a number of grassroots initiatives, food scrap recycling programs, works as a consultant to the Queens Library and already ran for the seat in 2009, garnering nearly 34 percent of the vote.