Mark Dunlea and Howie Hawkins Speak on the Buffalo Billion Corruption

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The Green Party candidates for Comptroller and Governor came to Buffalo today to call for increased action on climate change which they say is the path to full employment.

They also called for reforms in the state’s efforts to create jobs, saying that presently economic development funds to often go to large campaign donors rather to create jobs in communities where they are most needed. Several Cuomo administration officials and campaign donors are on trial in New York for allegedly rigging the bidding process for contracts for the Buffalo Billion. Cuomo and state lawmakers stripped the State Comptroller of oversight of such contracts shortly before the Buffalo Billion contracts were entered into.

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.

“Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity,” Dunlea noted. “It makes no sense for the State to continue to risk $6 billion in fossil fuels investment when the world has agreed to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. So far we have gotten 700 institutions worldwide to divest more than $6 trillion in funds from fossil fuels, but Tom DiNapoli thinks he will be more effective talking to Exxon, Chevron and the rest about climate risks,” said Dunlea.

Hawkins joined Dunlea to highlight the need to clean up the epidemic of political corruption at the State Capitol during the Cuomo administration. After the news conference, the Green Party candidates met with various community groups in the Buffalo area to determine if there was any evidence of local job creation as a result of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion.

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. 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 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.

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