Hawkins calls for Open Debates, 100% Clean Energy by 2030
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for Governor Cuomo to agree to participate in a series of debates with him and his other opponents.
“It would be a disservice to the progressive majority in New York to exclude the only progressive choice on the ballot in November from the debates,” Hawkins said.
“By any reasonable criteria — support demonstrated by poll numbers, a ballot status party with its own candidate, a serious statewide campaign, the only progressive option on the ballot — I should be included in debates,” Hawkins added.
Hawkins also responded to media reports that Zephyr Teachout was pushing Cuomo to ban fracking as a condition for her possible endorsement.
"Four years ago I ran for governor calling for ban on fracking, rather than just a moratorium like most environmental groups. It was crystal clear then as now that we need to commit fully to clean energy, not more greenhouse gases. Global warming has worsened in the last four years. Real solutions can’t wait. It is time to not only ban fracking, but halt new investments in fossil fuels and related infrastructure, including pipelines, gas-fired power plants, fracking waste dumps, fossil fuel storage depots in the salt caverns by Seneca Lake, LNG exports at Port Ambrose, crude oil ‘bomb trains,’ and a tar sands oil heater at the Port of Albany. We need a Green New Deal that will create millions of jobs by moving to 100% clean, renewable energy for New York by 2030," said Hawkins.
Hawkins also called for a shutdown of the state's nuclear plants, starting with Indian Point. Hawkins and the Green Party are helping to organize the People's Climate March and Climate Convergence in New York City next weekend which is expected to be the largest climate change protest in history.
Hawkins said the low voter turnout and high rate of rejection of Cuomo in last week's primary shows that Cuomo is most vulnerable to a challenge from the left, which is why Cuomo is now willing to debate Astorino but hasn't committed to face Hawkins. Hawkins had been polling slightly better than Teachout in pre-primary polls, getting 7% statewide. Two polls in upstate Congressional Districts conducted just before the primary showed Hawkins at 12% — higher than third party candidate Jessie Ventura was when he was allowed to debate and ended up being elected Governor of Minnesota.
Voters last week showed they were upset with Cuomo's treatment of public workers, schools and his refusal to ban fracking, issues that Hawkins disagrees with Cuomo and Astorino on. Many voters are also upset with Cuomo's overall economic policies which have contributed to New York having the worst income inequality in the state.
Hawkins says that if elected he will use his administrative powers to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour and would eliminate the subpoverty wage for food tip workers. The Governor's minimum wage board held its first hearing today .
"His delay for more than a year in convening the minimum wage board has cost low-income workers tens of millions of dollars in lost wages. And he has failed to appoint worker representatives who truly understand the realities of being a minimum wage worker in New Yorkers," added Hawkins.
Hawkins supports giving localities the power to set a higher minimum wage than the state minimum. He also wants to strengthen enforcement of laws against wage theft.
Hawkins’ overall platform can be found on his website, www.howiehawkins.org.