© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

For lieutenant governor, Green Party's Hawkins chose education activist

Ryan Delaney
Brian Jones, left, with Howie Hawkins. Jones is Hawkins' pick for lieuntenant governor as he runs for governor again.

When Howie Hawkins began his second run for governor as a member of the Green Party, he says he found education to be a key issue, so that’s where he looked for a running mate.

"We had a checklist of items that would make the ideal candidate," he said. "And my running mate, Brian Jones, he added to the list. He checked every box."

Hawkins is well known to voters in central New York. A Syracuse resident, he's run for local or statewide office nearly every year since 2006. But Brian Jones is less known in upstate New York.

Jones is a former New York City schoolteacher now studying urban education. Being on a long shot ticket is not discouraging, he says.

"I look at it more as how do we build a movement that can actually challenge these policies," Jones said.

Jones has been active in arguing against the privatization of schools and standardized testing.

"So I see this as a process and we’re building and I feel that this campaign is magnifying and amplifying and strengthening that movement," he added.

Hawkins and Jones say they’re not worried about voters who share their position on education being distracted by the Stop Common Core ballot line Republicans have introduced this year.

Jones says he was honored to be picked by Hawkins, whom he’s admired since Hawkins’ first run for governor four years ago.

"It seemed that here’s a working class guy with this like encyclopedic knowledge of politics and history who just has a tremendous amount of integrity," he said. 

He's been a registered member of the Green Party since 2000, he said. It’s his first time running for office, though.

He says he’s not pretending to know everything about the state, so he’s trying to listen as much as possible. 

In 2010, Hawkins ran with Gloria Mattera, of Brooklyn. They earned just shy of 60,000 votes.