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Hawkins anticipates run for mayor of Syracuse, his third in as many decades

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO File photo
Green Party leader Howie Hawkins

It’s not official yet, but Syracuse Green Party stalwart Howie Hawkins expects to join the crowded field running for the mayor of Syracuse. Hawkins hopes the third time could be the charm in his races for mayor; this will be the third decade in a row if he chooses to enter the race.

"In the '90s it was a struggle to get on the ballot and even get in the debates,” Hawkins says. “We were not taken seriously by the media, the public thought we were Greenpeace, not the Green Party.  By the 2000s we got in the debates, and people thought we had some good ideas, and our votes started rising."

This campaign comes after he’s run for more than a dozen other elections, including races for common council; governor; and two years ago, city auditor. It’s that last race that makes Hawkins optimistic. He pulled in more than 5,000 votes in a city-wide race.

“If we have a four way race -- which it looks like it’s shaping up to be -- a Democrat, a Republican, [independent] Ben Walsh and me,  5,249 votes would be competitive,” Hawkins says. “So we think we got a shot.”

On the issues, Hawkins lists crime, jobs and education as the things that need fixing.  He proposes more youth programs and community policing, a municipal development bank to build worker cooperatives that create jobs, and desegregation to improve city schools.

Hawkins, a graveyard shift UPS worker, says he’s learned a lot in his various runs, especially about fundraising. But he sees the key to this race is going door to door and meeting the voters.

“For us to win we’ve got to get the people who have been alienated and disgusted with the political process, which tend to be the working class people who feel they’re not being represented and their interests being looked after,” Hawkins says. “We first have to get recognized and then get them motivated to let them know we’re not just another politician. We’re really trying to do something different.”

Hawkins says the Green Party expects to officially announce its slate of candidates for local office next month.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.