Hawkins says Miner Made Poverty Worse During Mayoral Tenure
(Syracuse, NY) The Green Party candidates for Comptroller and Governor were in Syracuse today to call for increased action on climate change which they say is the path to full employment.
Mark Dunlea, the Green candidate for State Comptroller, said that the refusal of the current Comptroller to divest the state pension funds from fossil fuels is the main focus of his candidacy. For the last five years Dunlea has helped coordinate the NYC and state campaigns for 350.org to divest public pension funds from fossil fuels. NYC announced earlier this year that they would divest.
Howie Hawkins, the Green candidate for Governor, welcomed former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner to the Gubernatorial race but noted that her conservative economic policies had made the poverty crisis worse locally during her tenure. He has also questioned her credentials as an anti-corruption advocate.
In a release issued earlier this week, Hawkins pointed out that during Miner’s tenure as Mayor of Syracuse, the city’s high level of poverty and segregation of housing and schools by race and class became further concentrated. Miner’s policies and subsidies gentrified downtown, pushing low-income people out.
In addition to divesting from fossil fuels, Dunlea and Hawkins want the state to halt any more fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and instead transition to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030. New York only gets 4% of its state electricity from renewable energy. As part of its Green New Deal, the Green Party supports legislation to require New York to move to 100% clean energy by 2030. A study done by Cornell and Stanford professors shows that such a transition would result in “4.5 million jobs created during construction and 58,000 permanent annual jobs thereafter for the energy facilities.” (The equivalent of about 300,000 40-year-jobs.)
In 2017, nearly 1 million Americans were working near- or full-time in the energy efficiency, solar, wind, and alternative vehicles sectors. This is almost five times the current employment in the fossil fuel electric industry, which includes coal, gas, and oil workers.
Dunlea also said that New York needs a comptroller who will be more aggressive in addressing the epidemic of political corruption in New York State. He said that as Comptroller he would investigate state contracts which were awarded to campaign contributions, otherwise known as pay-to-play. Cuomo got the state legislature to take away the power of the Comptroller to review certain state contracts just before he began awarding the Buffalo Billion contracts to campaign donors; administration officials are now on trial in NYC for allegedly rigging the bidding process.
Dunlea said he would not take any campaign donations from individuals who have contracts with the state government and called on DiNapoli and other comptroller candidates to do the same. Green Party candidates are already prevented by party rules from taking any corporate donations.
Hawkins said that the drive for 100% clean energy was the centerpiece of the Green Party’s “Green New Deal” program to revitalize New York’s public sector in health, education, mass transit, housing, banking, broadband, and road, sewer, and water infrastructure. “We want public investment directly into the public services and infrastructure of our communities to rebuild the economy from the bottom up. It’s the Green alternative to the corrupt pay-to-play contracts, subsidies, and tax breaks to companies that donate to the Cuomo campaign. This corporate welfare goes to the top 1% and doesn’t trickle down to the rest of us, the 99%,” Hawkins said.