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Hawkins dives into Syracuse mayoral race

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Howie Hawkins is running for mayor in Syracuse, his second bid for the office.

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins is officially in the race for mayor of Syracuse. 

Hawkins last ran for the office 12 years ago, on a “Sustainable Syracuse” platform. He’s retrofitting that same slogan for 2017. 

“What I’m talking with sustainability -- and this is the vision we want to go in the next four to eight years -- is a city that has a sustainable prosperity," Hawkins said. "Sustainable fiscally, economically and ecologically.”

To do that, Hawkins is proposing tax reforms, including a city income tax that would apply to residents and anyone who works in the city. He says it would bring $30 million badly need dollars into city coffers.

"It would tax us residents, but also people who commute here and use city services that don’t pay for them," Hawkins said. "And most of those are the people, the jobs that pay the best income, middle and upper income, University Hill and downtown. And I think that's the way to increase revenues."

He also proposes a community hiring hall to get more residents into city jobs, and creation of a public power utility to create more affordable and renewable energy.

Currently there are seven Democrats, a Republican and an independent candidate in the race. Hawkins believes his candidacy can stand out in a crowded field.

"Our voting base is strong," he said. "And we can expand upon it. So I think we have a real shot, and I think this is a good opportunity given the current political climate.”

Hawkins promises a grassroots campaign, and says he will refuse contributions from for-profit businesses, because he wants to represent people, not corporations. He’ll also limit contributions to $1,000. 

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.