Many people may not know there are Green Party candidates for U.S. president and vice president this election.
Cheri Honkala thinks it's not only time people knew it, but that the time has arrived when people will even embrace the party.
Green Party VP nominee Honkala was in Williamsport Tuesday to campaign on behalf of herself and running mate Jill Stein.
"The No. 1 issue is ending homelessness," she said.
Honkala, who as a young woman was forced to live in her car while raising a son, thinks the homeless are just one segment of the U.S. population who are feeling disenfranchised these days.
And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are responding to the problem and other basic needs of people.
"People can't believe what they hear," she said of the dialogue that is put out by both major political parties.
Democrats and Republicans are failing to put a priority on so many of the issues affecting great numbers of people, whether it's general unemployment, homelessness or veterans in need of a job.
They involve people of little to no means whom politicians think do not affect their political careers.
Honkala believes the time has come for those people to be heard, and the Green Party, with its advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, social justice and peace, is the answer.
"I've talked to seniors who share medications, who work at McDonald's," she said. "There are people in the middle of Pennsylvania making choices between fuel and food to eat. These are not choices people should be making."
After all, Honkala reasoned, America is an affluent country with sufficient resources for everyone.
Honkala, who works on behalf of the homeless in Philadelphia, said there is a "new intolerance" simmering among much of the population.
She's optimistic that things are starting to change, however, and the Green Party is in the forefront of that evolution.
Never mind that the Green Party long has been shut out of the political process.
To get on the ballot in Pennsylvania, for example, Green Party and other third-party candidates must obtain signatures representing 2 percent of the most votes received by a candidate in the previous election.
For this year, that number is 20,601 signatures, compared with a 2,000 benchmark for Republican and Democratic candidates.
"We are on the ballot in 37 states," she said.
But the party, she said, is growing in strength as evidenced by some 2.4 million people who have indicated they would support Honkala and Stein.
She believes that neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama is reaching many people.
Honkala acknowledged that many voters might cast ballots for a Green Party candidate if not for the fear it would take those same votes away from Obama.
But she sees it differently.
Election of either Romney or Obama, she said, will result in a nation continuing to spend too much money on wars and not enough for education and other needs.
Honkala believes there exists too much money in politics, which is controlled in both major parties by corporations and a "good old boys" network.
Looking back on her own political evolution, Honkala said, "I tried really hard to be a Democrat."
For her, joining a political party amounted to little more than being asked for donations.
By contrast, the Green Party is one of cooperation, of hearing many voices.
Honkala said the nation has taken various wrong turns in recent years, including bailouts for Wall Street, high spending for defense and maintaining a system that benefits the insurance industry.
For all its faults, however, Honkala said she loves America and wants what's best for the nation.
"The Green Party is building," she said. "It's about our children and the next generation."