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Green Party gubernatorial candidate wants to debate Cuomo, Astorino

Tom Magnarelli
Howie Hawkins speaks to the press in front of the Jerry's Rescue statue in downtown Syracuse.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor, called for a series of debates with Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo and  Republican candidate Rob Astorino on a range of issues Wednesday, including job creation. Hawkins was critical of both Republican and Democratic economic policies.

“We have the most unequal distribution of income in the 50 states," Hawkins said. "The top one percent, their share of income in 1980 was 10 percent. Now it’s 35 percent. They have more than triple their income. That’s been the policy for four decades, trickle down economics, and it doesn’t trickle down.”

Hawkins says he supports public job creation and is calling for 100 percent clean energy in New York by 2030, referencing a study done by Cornell and Stanford Universities. The 2013 study says the development of that system could create millions of manufacturing and construction jobs.  

The Syracuse area lost more than 2,000 jobs this past year, according to New York State Department of Labor statistics.

Hawkins says he wants to discuss topics like corruption and campaign finance in debates. Hawkins says the recent New York Times article that says a senior aide to Cuomo, Lawrence Schwartz, put pressure on an ethics inquiry commission shows the system needs to change.

“The biggest contributors to Gov. Cuomo are those who are getting contracts and tax breaks for developments in Syracuse," Hawkins said. "Schwartz interfered with the Moreland Commission and then Cuomo shut it down. We have tax cuts for the rich which isn’t, I don’t think, about economics. It’s about corruption."

Hawkins also criticized Cuomo’s property tax cap on local governments, saying it hurt basic infrastructure projects.