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Hawkins Seek Progressive Voters Post Primary
For immediate release: September 17, 2018
Howie Hawkins Says Green Party is the Progressive Choice in November
Calls for 4 Regional Debates
(New York) Howie Hawkins kicked off his general election campaign by appealing to progressives who voted for Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams, and Zephyr Teachout in the recent primary 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, who is campaigning as an eco-socialist, said “it is too bad the Greens were left out of the mainstream media narrative leading up to last week’s primaries. We would have advanced the discussion well beyond what we heard from the progressives in the primaries.”
Earlier in the day, Hawkins participated in a news conference observing the 7th anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. The Occupy movement challenged social and economic inequality and the lack of democracy. “The 1% still rule our state and country. Our campaign is an attempt to finish what Occupy started with policies that will promote a fairer, more equitable distribution of income and wealth,” he said.
“The Green candidates are veteran activists of the progressive movements. They are the most qualified for their offices. Jia Lee is a public school teacher who is a leader in the Opt Out movement and in teacher union organizing in New York and across the country. Michael Sussman has argued more cases in court than all his opponents combined. He has won landmark civil rights cases. His complete independence from the major party machines means he will investigate Cuomo as well as Trump. Mark Dunlea, a longtime leader in movements to end poverty, for progressive fiscal policies, and for emergency action on the climate crisis is the only candidate for Comptroller calling for divestment of state pension funds from fossil fuel companies,” Hawkins said.
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 urged media and civic organizations to organize these debates in consultation with all the candidates, not just Mr. Cuomo who has dictated the number, date, and format of every gubernatorial debate since 2010.
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, starting with the 5-year $32 billion NYCHA fix, the 10-year $37 billion MTA fix, full funding of all public schools, tuition-free CUNY and SUNY, and building out a 100% clean energy system in a dozen years,” he said.
“With more progressive taxation, we will have the resources to finally realize the full New Deal program as articulated by President Roosevelt in his last State of the Union address in 1945 when he called for a second, economic bill of rights that would guarantee a living-wage job or an income above poverty, a decent home, comprehensive health care, and a good education. We call it the Green New Deal because we must also stop greenhouse gas emissions,” Hawkins said.
“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. It does not stop new fracked-gas fossil fuel infrastructure. It adopts Cuomo’s goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030, which would only lower the state’s carbon emissions by 14%. Its goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is too late for the climate emergency. 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 said the clean energy build-out will create 100,000s of good jobs in construction and manufacturing. He supports 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 .
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 teacher professionalism and unions and put high-poverty schools that inevitably score low on standardized tests 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. And rent control is not enough. We have to radically expand quality public housing to increase the supply of affordable units to provide an affordable housing options for all.”