Invites Cuomo to Join him to tour Fracking in Pennsylvania
(Albany NY) Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins called on Governor Cuomo today to agree to participate in three televised debates.
Hawkins, a long time advocate on a ban on fracking for natural gas, also announced that he will touring fracking sites in Pennsylvania on Thursday. He offered Cuomo, who told anti-fracking activists recently that he would take a similar tour, to join him. Republican Astorino recently announced that he will tour fracking areas with pro-fracking advocates.
Hawkins also criticized Cuomo's recent directive to state agencies not to seek any increase as funding as a continuation of Cuomo's austerity economic policies that have benefited the 1% while increasing income inequality.
So far only one televised debate has been agreed to. The Hawkins and Astorino campaigns have reached out to cable and TV stations to sponsor two more.
"The Governor needs to uphold the dignity of his office and stop playing Hamlet like his father. Enough of will he or won't he debate. The basic rules of democracy requires Cuomo to defend his record before the voters of New Yorkers, with all the candidates having the opportunity to outline their different visions for the future of New York" Hawkins stated.
So far Cuomo's re-election campaign has consisted of issuing press releases, overseas junkets, touring Upstate in support of a phony political party he created, and avoiding his opponents.
One of the most critical issues facing New Yorkers is fracking. Despite holding office for four years, the Governor still refuses to let the public know his position.
"New York doesn't need a Governor who makes decisions based not on what is best for the residents but what will help him in his pursuit of the White House. In punting the fracking decision to the Health Department, Cuomo told New Yorkers that his decision would be based on science. Yet when he doesn't like what outside experts tell him, he makes them change it," noted Hawkins, referring to news reports about a federal study on fracking that Cuomo commissioned.
On Thursday, Hawkins will tour Susquehanna County Pennsylvania with local activists to see first hand for himself the daily drama that ordinary citizens deal with in trying to access clean water.
"Cuomo turned down my offer this past Saturday for a pedicab tour of some of the most neglected neighborhoods of Syracuse. Despite that, I would love to have the Governor join me this week in Susquehanna County. It would be an honor to act as his chauffeur and tour guide" said Hawkins.
Unlike the Governor who is scared to take a public position, if elected, Hawkins will use his bully pulpit to advocate for building a 100% clean, renewable energy system with a completion target date of 2030. "By setting a lofty, but achievable goal for dealing with climate change, New York State can lead the way for the rest of nation" said Hawkins.
"The budget directive released last week makes it clear that Cuomo intends to keep New York the leader in income inequality," stated Hawkins. When he ran on an austerity budget four years ago, many progressives chose to believe his words were nothing more than posturing. After four years of attacks on unions, budget cutbacks and blaming local municipalities for every budget woe, 40% of voters on primary day chose to vote for little known progressive opponents.
The budget directive instructs agencies that, despite a projected $4 billion surplus, they can not seek any increases in state spending to meet unmet needs, with small increases allowed for the two major budget items, health care and schools.
A prime example of the Governor's dismissive attitude to the problems facing municipalities throughout the State can be found in Syracuse. So far this year the City as had 335 water main breaks. Mayor Stephanie Miner's request for financial assistance from State has disappeared into the bowels of Albany without even the dignity of a "no, we can't help you."
Cuomo has cut back on essential investments in human services, education and local revenue sharing in order to provide tax cuts and subsidies to his wealthy campaign contributors. Half of the funds he has raised has come from those donating more than $40,000. In contrast, Hawkins has laid out a revenue plan that would raise an additional $30 billion while providing 95% of New Yorkers with a tax cut. (http://www.howiehawkins.org/taxcutsforus).
"During Cuomo's first four years, he has been starving local schools, state workers, teachers, local government, and essential programs of needed funding in order to support lower taxes, handouts and subsidies for his wealthiest campaign contributors. His directive shows that his second term will just be more of the same failed economic policies that has left many New Yorkers in a recession," stated Hawkins.
"We need to revitalize the public sector and invest in our communities. Our infrastructure is crumbling and school budgets have been cut drastically in recent years. We need progressive taxes and revenue sharing from the state with municipalities so that we can adequately fund public services New Yorkers depend on. We need a bottom-up economic approach that lifts up our communities. We need to fund a public jobs program to provide a living wage job to everyone who needs it," said Hawkins.
When we fail to make these investments, society and our economy suffer as a whole. If economic improvement is the goal, then increasing investments in basic services should have a significant role in the state's continuing recovery.