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Hawkins runs for governor, says every vote he takes from Cuomo pushes Green Party platform

Howie Hawkins for Governor
Howie Hawkins announced his candidacy for governor in Albany Thursday

Syracuse's Howie Hawkins announced Thursday that he is running for governor on the Green Party line for the third time. Hawkins said a victory does not necessarily mean winning the race.

At his announcement in Albany, Hawkins said his slogan is ‘demand more.’

“We’re saying to the people of New York, in particularly the progressives, you’ve got to have higher expectations from our government," Hawkins said. "We got politicians going to prison more than any other state.”

Hawkins said he does not just want reforms, he wants to change the system, including full public campaign financing.

"Raising expectations starts with cleaning up Albany," Hawkins said. "We've got down here a quid pro quo, pay-to-play culture of corruption. Even when they don't find proof of legal bribery, these campaign contributions from the rich and corporations expecting favors is legalized bribery."

He received almost 5 percent of the vote in 2014, finishing third. The more votes the Green Party gets moves them up the ballot and also sends a message to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.     

“Because a vote for us is a vote somebody else didn’t get that won," Hawkins said. "Being politicians, they want to know how to get those votes. That’s what motivated Cuomo to adopt a lot of things he was either opposed to or didn’t take a position on.”

Hawkins said Cuomo has been pushed by progressives campaigning on issues like the ban on fracking, $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and millionaires’ tax. Now, Hawkins said he wants fully funded Foundation Aid for schools, single-payer health care and 100 percent clean energy in 15 years.

Hawkins said he has not had direct communication with Democratic candidate Cynthia Nixon, but he said he is willing to sit down with her and talk about the issues.

Hawkins is a perennial candidate. Last year, he ran for mayor of Syracuse. He also ran for governor in 2010, in addition to running for offices like Syracuse Common Council and U.S. Senate. He recently retired from unloading trucks at UPS and said he is dedicating his full time to his campaign for governor.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.