The Howie Hawkins Interview
Political. With Kit Parsons, August 8, 2022
I interview 2020 Green Party Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins about his campaign to be New York’s next Governor.
By Kit Parsons
Howie Hawkins is a co-founder of the US Green Party and was the 2020 Green Party Presidential candidate, where he spread the Green parties’ progressive policies and message for meaningful change. Howie is a tireless hard worker for green progressive causes and has run for office many times over his lifetime of dedication to green causes. In 2014, his run for Governor secured 4.8% of the vote, which was a big achievement, considering one of his opponents (and eventual winner) Andrew Cuomo was very popular at the time. How times have changed. You can read more about Howie in this article I wrote about his Presidential campaign.
I truly believe that Howie is a fantastic force for good in US politics, and I was delighted to see that he was running for office again, this time for Governor of New York again, with Gloria Mattera as his running mate. I interviewed Howie about his campaign.
I began by asking Howie why he is running. He said:
I am running to give New York voters a progressive alternative to the cautious corporate centrism of the Democrat, Govenor Kathy Hochul, and the right-wing extremism of the Trump Republican, Lee Zeldin. It is one vote for a Governor/Lieutenant Governor ticket. My running mate is Gloria Mattera.
I then asked Howie what his goals are with his campaign. He explained how:
We want voters to able to demonstrate support for the Inclusive Democracy and Green New Deal policies that only our ticket is campaigning for, including fair ballot access, ranked choice voting for executive offices, proportional representation in the state legislature, public power utilities to build 100% clean energy in a decade, a guaranteed minimum income above poverty, universal public health care, universal public child care, and tuition-free public college.
You can find Howie and Gloria’s full platform on their website linked here.
More and more Americans are becoming aware of how difficult running for office can be for those who don’t associate with either of the major parties. To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges a third-party candidate for Governor faces, I asked Howie what the biggest challenges he was facing in his campaign:
The biggest challenge we face is getting on the ballot. New York State passed an exclusionary ballot access law in 2020 that tripled the signature and vote requirements for minor parties to get and stay on the ballot. Eight parties attempted to do the petition of 45,000 signatures in 42 days to get on the ballot, up from the 15,000 signatures in 42 days that was required before 2020. None of those petitions were successful.
As a result, only the Democratic and Republican tickets will be on the ballot in 2022 unless we win our lawsuit to overturn the 2020 law. Our case, which we filed jointly with the Libertarian Party and lost at the federal district court level, is on appeal before the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals with a hearing scheduled for September 6. In the meantime, we are running a write-in campaign.
One of those eight petitions was filed by Republican Lee Zeldin to create another ballot line for his candidacy. His petition was thrown out because over 11,000 of his signatures were actually photocopies of real signature pages that he sprinkled throughout his petition. Zeldin, who is in the House of Representatives, voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s election and has been echoing Trump’s baseless conspiracy fantasies about 2020 election fraud. I am calling for the prosecution of this insufferable hypocrite for election fraud with his petition.
I was shocked to hear about this anti-democratic act, to limit the choices of New York voters. It is a disgustingly brazen act to strengthen the status quo and weaken democracy. It is certainly a devastating step in the wrong direction. I sincerely hope that the appeal is successful.
If Howie and Gloria can't get on the ballot, I don’t think New Yorkers would ever have had a weaker ballot. On one side, you have Kathy Hochul, who was handpicked by the disgraced Andrew Cuomo. And then on the other side, you have the insurrection backing, MAGA fraudster Lee Zeldin. There is also, concerningly, a consensus that Zeldin ‘has [a] real shot’ at victory, as reported by the New York Post.
The Court of Appeals needs to do the right, and democratic thing. Howie needs to be on the ballot, to ensure that New Yorkers have the ability to vote for a moral, hardworking, and progressive candidate. If not, New Yorkers will have to write in Howie and Gloria.
I would like to thank Howie for his time and thoughtful responses. Not many Gubernatorial and former Presidential candidates would take the time to respond to an independent student journalist. The fact Howie did, yet again, demonstrates his character and how he is just the type of decent and moral person New York State needs. His platform is bold and progressive, and I wish him and Gloria all the best in their campaign. Let’s hope they get on the ballot. For democracy’s sake.
As a brief aside, I do find it strange, counterintuitive, and slightly hypocritical how the Green Party has essentially been forced off the ballot, yet those who cry about the potential fall of democracy (from Trumpism etc) don’t seem to care about it when it isn't their party who is suffering.
This makes the need for Howie and Gloria even stronger. They need and deserve to be on the ballot.