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Howie Hawkins to officially launch 3rd bid for governor

Howie Hawkins to officially launch 3rd bid for governor

Daily Orange (Syracuse University), March 27, 2018

“We want to leverage reforms because Gov. Cuomo can’t take progressive votes for granted. We got five percent in 2014,” Hawkins said. “Cuomo has to compete for progressive votes and as a result he’s moved our way on over a dozen issues.”

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is running for New York state governor again.

Hawkins has run in more than 20 elections since 1993. Most recently he ran for Syracuse mayor in 2017, garnering only four percent of the vote. Hawkins said members of his party keep pushing him to run, and he wants to advance party ideals throughout New York in 2018, challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“We want to get at least 50,000 votes to get a ballot line for the next election cycle, and that will enable our local candidates to more easily get on the ballot and run the next four years,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins last ran for governor in 2014. He received five percent of the vote. Hawkins said that by running for the position he wants to build up the Green Party’s reputation and get the party more organized.

The Green Party leader’s bid for governor became public by accident, he said, when a fellow party member, who was a brother of a local reporter, emailed Hawkins and told him he should consider running. Hawkins responded and said he was going to run and the man told his brother.

Hawkins said he’s still working on putting a campaign staff together, which is why he hadn’t publicly announced his candidacy.

“I have a lot more to say as we go through the campaign,” he said. “I don’t want to get it all out at once.”

The Green Party leader is a proponent of raising the minimum wage, tuition-free public college and a ban on fracking — ideals that Hawkins said Cuomo has supported, to an extent, because Green Party candidates keep running for office.

“We want to leverage reforms because Gov. Cuomo can’t take progressive votes for granted. We got five percent in 2014,” Hawkins said. “Cuomo has to compete for progressive votes and as a result he’s moved our way on over a dozen issues.”

Hawkins is a resident of Syracuse’s South Side, a traditionally low-income neighborhood southwest of Syracuse University’s Main Campus. As a candidate for governor, Hawkins said he wants to push for the desegregation of public schools in New York state.

Hawkins has worked for United Parcel Service and was the treasurer of a South Side food cooperative. He also worked on Mayor Ben Walsh’s transition team last December.

After almost 20 years on the job, he officially retired from the UPS in March to collect his pension. He said that by no longer working at UPS, he will have more time to commit to his run for governor.

“That’s my plan for this year,” Hawkins said. “I may have to go back to work this year, after the campaign, get a job.”

Hawkins is an advocate for campaign finance reform and said the recent trial of Joe Percoco, a former aide to Cuomo and a longtime friend who was convicted on corruption charges earlier this month, displays issues apparent in the state’s campaign finance structure. Percoco ran Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign.

“Cuomo has practiced trickle-down economic policy of giving (tax breaks), subsidies, grants to the politically-connected companies that give him campaign contributions,” Hawkins said. “These cases show us in the courtroom what we know goes on. It’s legalized bribery. That’s what the private campaign finance system is.”

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