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CARBONDALE — Green Party Candidate Paula Bradshaw kicked off a petition drive Tuesday to get on the ballot for the 12th Congressional District seat to be vacated when U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, retires later this year.

Bradshaw made her announcement at Carbondale’s Varsity Center for the Arts. She must gather 5,000 signatures from registered voters in the district by June 25 to get on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

A registered nurse and activist, Bradshaw said she’s entering the race because “corporate candidates” and politicians in the Democratic and Republican parties have the country going in the wrong direction.

She opposes the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and other “oppressive laws which undermine our Bill of Rights.”

Bradshaw is also against “massive tax cuts for the rich,” corporate and banking greed and lawlessness, and lax environmental regulation.

“The corporate candidates pay lip service to the American dream of hard work, small businesses and prosperous farmers,” Bradshaw said. “But apparently, they either don’t know our recent history or are incapable of learning from it.”

Democrat Brad Harriman and Republican Jason Plummer will be Bradshaw’s opponents if her signature drive is successful.

On Twitter: @DW_Norris_SI

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