Howie Hawkins, a longtime member of the Green Party, has kicked off another campaign for governor of New York, this time with a goal to win four times as many votes as he did four years ago.
Hawkins lives on Syracuse’s south side and works for UPS. Over the years, he’s run for everything from Common Council to Congress.
In 2010, he notched just shy of 60,000 votes and raised $45,000 in his bid for governor. That was more votes than any other third party candidate. He’s hoping to quadruple both those numbers in November.
The progressive candidate says he thinks the state should have a $15 an hour minimum wage, ban deep well drilling for natural gas and expand primary and higher education opportunities.
New York should opt out the Common Core education standards, Hawkins said, "and opt into fully-funded, desegregated schools where the teachers, not outside corporate contractors, write common standards and the tests and use them to educate students, and not to close schools and fire our teachers."
Hawkins spoke to a small gathering of supporters Tuesday evening in Syracuse.
This time around, he said, the Green Party is more organized than four years ago.
"We found the people out there," he said of his first gubernatorial campaign. "And I think that has energized us statewide. So we go a much stronger organization. That’s probably the biggest difference for us now."
Getting four times as many votes is within reach, Hawkins said. Despite more name recognition, he admits being invited to debates may still be a challenge.
Hawkins is visiting other cities this week to kick off his campaign against Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo and Republican Rob Astorino, the Westchester County Executive.