Joanne Spataro: Dr. Jill Stein Gets Personal: How a Health Scare Got Her Into Politics

Published May 13, 2013 on The Huffington Post (

By Joanne Spataro

During the first part of our interview, Dr. Jill Stein talked about promoting the Green Party platform, doing push-ups in jail and fighting for local food. The former presidential candidate for the Green Party in 2012 seemed like she had always been fearless.

But growing up, Stein considered herself to be a passive, so-called good girl. She was a high school student who strived to be well-behaved and pleasant, never one to directly challenge ideas or situations. She preferred to be involved in the equal rights movement for women and people of color and support ending the Vietnam War in the 1960s from the sidelines, not as a leader.

“I had all these sort of good behaviors that were deeply ingrained,” Stein said. “I didn’t see myself as someone who was really going to get out and shake the tree.”

That changed years later when Stein faced a life-threatening health scare at age 41. An MRI revealed she had lost circulation on the right side of her brain. She had a carotid artery dissection, a tear in the artery that allows blood to leak between and separate the three layers of the artery walls. The resulting bloodclot can lead to a stroke.

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