Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said today that Zephyr Teachout's entrance into the Democratic Party primary should be used to broaden rather than narrow the political debate in New York.
Hawkins' call for a series of public debates between the candidates of the ballot qualified parties has not yet been embraced by his two main opponents, Cuomo and Astorino.
Hawkins said that since Cuomo is already guaranteed a place in the general election on the Independence and WFP lines, any debate that he participates in during the primary season should be open to his November opponents as well. Hawkins will be the Green Party candidate on the November ballot.
Hawkins also called upon Cuomo to pledge to run a fair election, including a public commitment to not intimidate public employees who assist his opponents, such as signing their nominating petitions.
"Cuomo has a problem with bullying that he should seek counseling for. It is one thing if he wanted to try to intimidate Skelos, Klein or Silver in a public election. That puts the decision in the voters' hands. But it is not healthy for Cuomo to create this climate of fear among state employees from top to bottom, which inhibits the open, honest, and critical exchange of views necessary for good government. He is Nixonian with his ever growing enemies list," noted Hawkins.
Hawkins said that liberal Democratic Party primary candidates such as Teachout and Credico could help educate voters on Cuomo's conservative policies but that the independent left Hawkins represents should be part of the debate as well. The Green Party has long argued that both the Democratic and Republican parties serve the needs of the rich upper class and that working people need an independent party on the left to win a comprehensive progressive agenda that addresses the root causes of income inequality, segregated schools, discrimination against immigrants, mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, unemployment, economic stagnation, and climate change.