NY Times: Planet is Doomed; The Solution: Vote Green

NY Times: Planet is Doomed; The Solution: Vote Green

For immediate release: September 18, 2018

Video of news conference

Howie Hawkins Says Green Party is the Progressive Choice in November

NY Times: Planet is Doomed; The Solution: Vote Green

(Albany) Howie Hawkin kicked off his general election campaign by appealing to progressives who voted for Nixon, Williams, and Teachout in the recent primary. He called on them to support the Green gubernatorial ticket of Hawkins and Jia Lee, as well as Michael Sussman for Attorney General and Mark Dunlea for Comptroller. Hawkins pointed out that the Green candidates are veteran activists of progressive movements, and are the most qualified for their offices.

“The Green general election ticket is Plan B after the primaries for progressive voters,” Hawkins said.

With an increasing number of scientists, government bodies, and the media increasingly warning that the future of human civilization is imperiled by accelerating climate change and extreme weather, the Green Party wants New York to set a goal of 100% clean energy by 2030.

“The NY Times Magazine recently argued that life on planet is probably doomed due to the inability of politicians to set aside partisan bickering to launch an emergency mobilization to avoid the worse of climate change. The clear solution is to vote in the Green Party because we are committed to doing what is needed to avoid climate chaos,” stated Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for State Comptroller who wants the state to divest its pension fund from fossil fuels.

“The good news is that we largely know how to move to 100% clean energy while creating millions of jobs, cutting deaths from air pollution, and lowering energy costs. All we need is the political will to act and the Greens have that in abundance,” added Dunlea.

“Nixon urging Cuomo to get behind the Climate and Community Protection Act, which the state Assembly has passed three times, is ironic because it mostly codifies Cuomo’s own energy policy. We need to fight for passage of the New York Off Fossil Fuels Act, a plan for 100% clean energy by 2030, with the same sharp focus we had on the fracking ban in 2014,” Hawkins added. 

Hawkins, who is campaigning as an eco-socialist, said that now that the primary is over, there needs to be a much more open discussion about what being a progressive means in New York rather than the narrow debate during the Democratic Party primaries.

“While I certainly agree we need to end the Trump presidency as soon as possible, the gubernatorial election needs to focus on concrete proposals for what New York can do statewide to strengthen the common good for the state’s residents,” added Hawkins,

Hawkins proposes four regional debates (NYC Metro area, Capital District, Central NY and Western NY), each focused on a topic: The Economy, Government Reform, The Environment and Climate, and Social Policy, including education, health care, criminal justice, and civil rights.  

Hawkins and the Greens support the single-payer NY Health Act and a range of ethics and criminal justice reforms, including ranked-choice voting and proportional representation, full public campaign finance based on the Clean Money system used in Arizona and Maine, term limits, bail abolition, speedy trial, marijuana legalization, and Sanctuary State policies to protect immigrants.

One issue where Hawkins disagreed with both Nixon and Cuomo was the Governor’s property tax cap, which has done nothing to reduce sky-high local property taxes but has prevented local governments from funding needed services and improvements. Nixon wants to tweak the tax cap. Hawkins wants to repeal it and instead have the state pay for its unfunded mandates and restore revenue sharing with local governments to 8% of state revenues.

To provide every child a good education, New York must desegregate its schools, which are the most segregated in the country.  Hawkins and Lee also want to scrap high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers, schools, and students. The Greens charge that the real goal of such testing is to attack teachers and put high-poverty schools into receivership and then privatization into charter schools.

On the housing affordability crisis, Hawkins said, “Universal rent control is pointless without repealing the Urstadt Law to give cities home rule on their rent regulations. We also have to radically expand quality public housing.”

Hawkins noted that the income share going to the top 1% has grown from 12% in 1980 to 31% today. He called for progressively graduated tax brackets on multi-millionaire incomes and retaining rather than rebating the stock transfer tax. “The 1% can afford to contribute more. We need to fund a Green New Deal to revitalize public sector services and infrastructure,” he said.

Dunlea added that “we need a Green to watch the green. We need to end the practice of the two parties treating the public treasury as their private piggy bank.” Dunlea said that the Comptroller needs to more aggressively review state contracts to stop corruption, especially contracts going to those making campaign donations. He also supports a host of budget transparency reforms.

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