Latinx Caucus of the Green Party of the United States
Presidential Candidates Questionnaire
Please give us a sense of who you are as a candidate by answering any or all of the following questions.
How Long have you been a registered Green?
I have been a member of the Greens since I participated in the first national Green organizing meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, in August 1984. I have been a registered Green in New York since 1999 when the Green Party first qualified to have enrolled Greens in New York.
Have you ever sought elected office before? Yes
If “yes”, when? what office? what party were you registered with at the time? What were the results? Describe how you decided to run for office?
I ran as a Green in all of the campaigns listed below. I was asked to run by the Greens in my local party or the state party, except in two years when I wanted to run and asked for support from my local. In 2008, I asked my local for support to run for Congress and it took a while to persuade them it was a race we should run. In 2013, I wanted to run for Mayor of Syracuse but my local voted to have me run for 4th District Councilor again.
I got on the ballot (or attempted to get on the ballot) via an independent nominating petition with the Green label from 1993 to 1998 and from 2003 to 2010. I was a registered Green with the state from 1999 on, which we were able to do after first winning a ballot line, and we maintained the right to do so by winning a lawsuit despite losing the ballot line in from 2003 until 2011.
The results from 1993 through 2008 were single digit percentages. The results from 2009 on are posted below.
1993 Syracuse Councilor-At-Large
1994 Syracuse Councilor-At-Large
1995 Syracuse Councilor-At-Large
1996 U.S. Congress (Democrats successfully challenged my ballot petition)
1997 Mayor of Syracuse
1998 NYS Comptroller
1999 Onondaga County Executive
2000 U.S Congress
2001 4th District Councilor, Syracuse
2002 NYS Comptroller
2003 Syracuse Councilor-At-Large (Democrats successfully challenged my ballot petition)
2004 U.S. Congress
2005 Mayor of Syracuse
2007 Syracuse Councilor-At-Large
2008 U.S. Congress
2009 4th District Councilor, Syracuse 41% Second of three candidates
2010 Governor of New York 2% Third of seven candidates
2011 4th District Councilor, Syracuse 48% Second of two candidates
2013 4th District Councilor, Syracuse 40% Second of two candidates
2014 Governor of New York 5% Third of five candidates
2015 Auditor, City of Syracuse 35% Second of two candidates
2017 Mayor, City of Syracuse 5% Third of five candidates
2018 Governor of New York 2% Third of five candidates
Describe your major accomplishments as a Green and how they relate to the office you are seeking.
By running multiple races in Syracuse in the 1990s and early 2000s, by presenting a serious platform, and by being a consistent presence during and between elections, I helped the local Green Party define the issues debated in city politics, break into regular media coverage, and eventually win inclusion in broadcast candidate debates
In the last decade in Syracuse, the Green Party has supplanted the Republicans as the second party in city elections.
I helped the Green Party win a New York ballot line as part of the statewide slate in 1998 and as its gubernatorial candidate in 2010, 2014, and 2015.
The 5% I received for governor in 2014 forced Governor Cuomo to compete for our voters by adopting demands we were raising but he had never supported before, including a ban of fracking, a $15 minimum wage, and paid family leave.
I ran credible campaigns for US Senator against Hillary Clinton in 2006 and for Governor of New York in 2010, 2014, and 2018, which demonstrated I know how to pull together a large-scale campaign, raise the money to support needed staff and messaging, and present a campaign credible enough to get major media coverage and inclusion in debates that were broadcast by the major media.
3. Endorsements from Latinx Community organizations. There are thousands of Latinx community organizations. Does your campaign have a relationship with any community organizations? Yes
If yes, who?
I have a personal relationship with the Workers Center of Central York, which organizes predominantly Mexican and Central American farm and factory workers in central New York. They don’t engage in partisan politics as an organization, but I have worked with them in campaigns for drivers licenses for undocumented people, inclusion of farmworkers into labor law protections, OSHA enforcement, and against ICE and CBP raids and detentions.
Has your campaign reached out to any community organizations?
Not yet in a systematic way. At this stage in the campaign, we are focused on Green Party members and general public messaging. If we receive the nomination, we will approach community organizations in a systematic way in consultation with local Green Parties and the caucuses.
I will continue to support and participate in the events, marches, and campaigns of community organizations, such as marching and speaking at the Paddle Up Flotilla against the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline organized by Anishinaabe Indians in Michigan on Labor Day weekend 2019, the Close the Camps march and demonstration in Los Angeles on Indigenous People’s Day, October 12, 2019, and the educational briefing and tour of East LA housing and environmental problems with Fernando Ramirez, the United Electrical Workers (UE) field organizer in Los Angeles.
Have you been endorsed by any Latinx community organizations?
4. Campaign Strategy
Please give us a vision and overview of your campaign in the Latinx community by answering any or all of the following questions:
What are the goals of this campaign in the Latinx community?
To reach masses of Latinx voters with a message of positive change that will improve Latinx people’s lives that is in stark contrast to the open racism toward Latinx people by Trump and to the status quo ante of routine exploitation and discrimination against Latinx people by the corporate neoliberals of the Democrtic Party leadership represented by Joe Biden.
As a special emphasis, we want to engage younger Latinx voters, especially those from mixed immigration status families.
How will you achieve those goals?
Social media, particularly in Latinx networks.
If social distancing conditions permit, we will devote more resources to in-person meetings specifically geared towards Latinx communities in key cities where Greens have the most capacity and presence.
What do you consider the major Latinx issues in this race?
On what Latinx issues is your campaign centered?
Economic Justice – jobs, housing, living wages, student debt relief, wage theft, full Fair Labor Standards Act protections for all farmworkers.
Health Care – Medicare for All means all, regardless of immigration status. Emergency COVID-19 Response emphasizing job, housing, and health care protections. See my full list of demands in “The 5th Coronavirus Relief Package We Need,” https://howiehawkins2020.us/the-5th-coronavirus-relief-package-we-need/.
Enforcement of Anti-Discrimination Laws in education, employment, housing, lending, policing, and health care.
Immigration – Close the Camps. Reunite families. Legalize and normalize status. Defend sanctuary cities. Abolish ICE and BCP and create a new agency to administer Open Borders, like within the EU.
Education – Fully-funded, tuition-free public education from preschool to post-secondary college or trade school training, including bilingual/dual-language education to maintain language spoken at home. End school privatization and high-stakes testing, the Trojan Horse for privatization. Desegregation of public schools.
Access to the Ballot – Ranked-Choice Voting and Proportional Representation (worldwide experience proves ethnic minorities get their fair share of representation). Repeal voter ID laws. Expand polling centers and registration in Latinx neighborhoods. Restore preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act.
What strategies will your campaign use to get your message out in the Latinx community?
- Zoom meetings with Latinx people.
- Outreach to Spanish language media.
- Spanish language literature and social media.
- Spanish/English bi-lingual campaign manager.
- Hire Latinx field organizer.
What is your campaign’s relationship to the Latinx Community?
I have personal friendships with Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans in my neighborhood and at work as a Teamster at UPS before I retired two years ago.
I have recruited two Puerto Ricans, Dania Vega and Maria Whittington, to run as Green Party candidates locally. I recruited Ramon Jimenez, the late “People’s Lawyer” of the South Bronx, to run for Attorney General on our statewide Green Party slate in 2014. I still work with Ramon’s close collaborators in the Bronx, including the daughter of a Puerto Rican couple I know who grew up in public housing in Syracuse before interning with Ramon on her way to becoming a lawyer.
From my work against wage theft in New York state, I have relationships with Latinx organizers who are working with immigrants and people of color against wage theft, for example, Ed Figeroa, who tells it like it is at the end of the 1-minute video linked at the end of this report on our statewide demonstrations against wage theft last month: https://howiehawkins2020.us/fighting-wage-theft-in-new-york/.
My campaign manager is a Guatemalan Latina.
How can your campaign increase the visibility of the Green Party and its platform in the Latinx community?
By running a credible national campaign that reaches the masses of Latinx people through mass media and social media.
Staff dedicated to social media outreach.
We are currently recruiting Spanish-bilingual outreach staff.
5. Puerto Rico.
As you may know, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States in 1898 and has been an occupied colony of the US ever since.
If elected to office will you immediately waive the Jones Act?
Yes. We should be demanding an immediate waiver of the Jones Act now in the Covid-19 crisis – and demand immediate release of the $1,200 relief checks to Puerto Rico. No one in Puerto Rico as I write this on May 1 has received their check yet.
We should demand Congress repeal the Jones Act permanently.
What would you do to erase the illegal debt that Washington DC helped Wall St. engineer to crash and destroy the economy in Puerto Rico?
I have called on the US government to cancel the debt, eliminate the Fiscal Control Board, and fund economic and environmental reconstruction in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria in my 2018 run for governor of New York and in my current campaign for the Green Party presidential nomination. I supported my Lt. Governor running mate in 2018, Jia Lee, a teacher and union organizer, to travel to Puerto Rico during that campaign to do organizing training for the militant teacher union strikes and to provide educational resources for students and educators about the austerity measures in public education in Puerto Rico as part of the school-to-school solidarity campaign that Jia developed.
In my statement, “Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Need a Green New Deal Now,” June 19, 2019 (https://howiehawkins2020.us/puerto-rico-and-the-virgin-islands-need-the-green-new-deal-now/), I made the following demands:
- Cancel the Debt, with provision for a taxpayer-funded compensation fund for creditors who are local residents, businesses, banks, and union and public pension plans.
- Eliminate the Fiscal Control Board.
- Fund a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to build housing, schools, clean water infrastructure, public transportation, communications, and renewable energy and fund social services and anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, SNAP, Child Tax Credit, and Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Stop the Privatization of Schools and Electric Power.
- Solarize the Power System.
- Repeal the Jones Act to cut costs of imports to Puerto Rico.
- Assist Puerto Rican environmental refugees who have relocated to the mainland United States.
How would you use your office to fight for the independence of Puerto Rico?
The status of Puerto Rico is for the Puerto Rican people to decide. The president should not interfere in self-determination by the people of any country.
What the president should do is encourage a fair process for Puerto Ricans to determine their status that is accepted by all parties in Puerto Rico so the referendum is seen as legitimate by the people of Puerto Rico, which has not been the case in the five previous referendums.
6. Immigration and Latin America.
We know that both dem and republican administrations have failed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. What would your administration do in the short term to alleviate the suffering of the tens of thousands of immigrants in detention, or waiting in Mexico at the border, and to return all separated or caged children to their families?
I would immediately close the detention camps and free their occupants.
I would immediately open the borders to the migrants seeking entry on the Mexican side of the border.
I would create an emergency relief program for the migrants to reunite their families and assist them with income, housing, health care, and other social services to help them get settled in the United States. The program would include measures to properly vet and monitor host families for unaccompanied minors.
I would redirect resources from the US Department of Education to provide transitional native language instruction for the children of asylum seekers, to ensure education continues without further interruption.
I would push legislation to abolish ICE and CBP and replace them with an agency to administer an Open Borders policy where people are free to move back and forth across the Mexican border for work, shopping, recreation, and residence, similar to the open borders policy within the European Union.
I would speak out to help the people of the United States understand US responsibility for the long-term disruption of Latin American societies at the service of exploitation by US-based corporations. I would explain how US regime change and economic exploitation policies have created the impoverished and repressive conditions that have pushed people to seek asylum and a better life on the US side of the border.
What would you do regarding the millions of undocumented immigrants residing in this country?
I would legalize their status.
What would your administration do to enact long term immigration reform?
I would push for immigration reform laws that create a policy of Open Borders where people are free to move back and forth across US borders for work, shopping, recreation, and residence, similar to the open borders policy within the European Union.
The policy would abolish ICE and CBP and create a new agency with sufficient resources to administer the residency and naturalization process in an expedited manner with reduced fees and a simplified process.
What is your position regarding?
The embargo of Venezuela?
The US should lift the embargo of Venezuela immediately.
The Coup in Bolivia?
The US should rescind its recognition of the coup as constitutional. It should condemn the cancellation of the May elections. It should support early free and fair elections without repression by the right-wing coup government.
The continued embargo of Cuba?
The US should lift the embargo of Cuba immediately and normalize relations.
The repression in Chile?
The US government should condemn the beatings, shootings, arbitrary arrests, and other repression of economic and political protests by the right-wing president and military of Chile. Greens should continue to participate in demonstrations condemning the repression and expressing solidarity with Chileans demanding economic and political rights.
The US should stop intervening covertly in Nicaraguan politics and threatening sanctions and military action. It is up the Nicaraguans to determine their government and leaders.
7) Some of the delegates of the National Committee, including one current steering committee co-chair and one former co-chair, have made repeated statements in opposition to our Caucuses. Some have made statements that the Caucuses are not democratic, not transparent, and should not have a vote on the NC.
Do you support the Caucuses?
Do you think Caucuses should have a vote on the National Committee?
How would you help the Caucuses grow?
The caucuses should have paid coordinators and field organizers to organize all Green Party members participate into their respective caucuses and to reach out to people in the general public who identify with the respective caucuses to become Green Party and caucus members.
The Green Party cannot raise the funds needed for this kind of organizing until it becomes a dues-paying political party with dues scaled to ability to pay. Until the Green Party does that, it will remain grossly underfunded. Unions raise about $10 billion a year from membership dues. The Green Party needs to do the same if it is serious about competing with the two most capitalist, richest, and oldest political parties in the world.