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Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins
Personal details
Born ( 1952-12-08) December 8, 1952
San Francisco
Political party Green,
Other political
Socialist (1973 - 2014)
Residence Syracuse, New York
Alma mater Dartmouth College, B.A.

Howie Hawkins (born 1952) is an American politician and activist with the Green Party of the United States. He was New York's Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in the State of New York in 2006. During the 2008 Green Party primaries Hawkins served as a placeholder candidate for Ralph Nader on some 2008 Green Party primary ballots, until Nader announced his intentions for the 2008 election. In 2009, he received 41 percent of the vote as the Green Party candidate for 4th District Common Councilor in Syracuse, New York. In 2010 Hawkins ran as the Green Party's candidate for 2010 Governor of New York and restored ballot status for the party by receiving more than the necessary 50,000 votes.[1][2] On April 9, 2014, Hawkins announced his second campaign for Governor of New York.[3] The Green party under Hawkins in 2014 received 5 percent of the vote which moves the party up to line D for the next four years surpassing the Working Families and Independence parties.

Early life and career

Born in San Francisco, California in 1952, Hawkins was raised in a multi-racial neighborhood in nearby San Mateo. He became politically active at the age of 12, when he witnessed the multiracial Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was denied recognition at the 1964 Democratic Convention.[4] He eventually began protesting against the Vietnam War, the military draft, and racial discrimination. After graduating from Burlingame High School, he attended Dartmouth College. Hawkins worked as a carpenter, logger, and cooperative business developer. He was a co-developer and co-owner of a construction workers cooperative that specialized in solar and wind energy systems.

Hawkins came to Syracuse in 1991 to be Director of CommonWorks, a federation of cooperatives working for a cooperatively owned and ecologically sustainable economy. For the last decade, Hawkins has worked as a truck unloader at UPS, where he is a member of Teamsters Local 317 and active in the national Teamster rank-and-file reform caucus, Teamsters for a Democratic Union, as well as US Labor Against the War and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare.

Early political activism

Though federal civil rights and voting rights acts passed in 1964 and 1965, Hawkins felt the Great Society policies of President Lyndon Johnson were sacrificed to the war. So when the Peace and Freedom Party was formed in late 1967 to end US intervention in Vietnam and fight poverty and racism, Hawkins supported the registration drive to put it on the ballot; Ironically, Hawkins himself, then 15, wouldn’t be able to vote for another six years because the law then stated one had to be 21 in order to vote.

Hawkins also participated in the peace, justice, and environmental movements and demonstrations in the Bay Area in his high school years, including Stop the Draft Week in October 1967, the San Francisco State Strike in 1968-69, People’s Park in Berkeley in 1969, the first Earth Day and the nationwide anti-war student strike in 1970, and Black Panther Party proposal for community control of the police in Berkeley, California in 1971.

During his first year at Dartmouth, college draft deferments were eliminated, and his draft number was called in July 1972. He immediately enlisted in an off-campus Marine officer-training program before the Army’s draft letter reached him so he could continue his studies. But after a summer of officer training at Quantico in 1974, Hawkins informed the Marines that he did not have the funds for his last two years of college. Since he could not meet the college degree requirement needed to take an officer‘s commission upon graduation, he told the Marines he was ready to serve as a regular enlistee for the two years of active duty that he was obligated to serve under his enlistment contract. The Marines never ordered him back to active duty, however.

While waiting for orders to report to active duty, Hawkins remained active in the anti-war movement, and became active in the anti-nuclear and the occupations of the Seabrook nuclear plant site.

After the Soweto riots in South Africa in 1976, he co-founded the Upper Valley Committee for a Free Southern Africa, helped to form the Northeast Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa in 1978, and represented New England on the national anti-apartheid Call to Conscience coordinating committee in the early 1980s.

Hawkins led several campaigns to link corporate exploitation in South Africa and the US, including domestic redlining by banks lending to South Africa and labor abuse by Phelps Dodge in Namibia and Arizona.

In 1978, Hawkins co-founded a construction workers cooperative that specialized in energy efficiency and solar and wind installations. He also worked with students at Dartmouth to form a New Hampshire Public Interest Research Group in 1975. In 1976-77, Hawkins returned to Dartmouth for his last year of studies, where he completed all the requirements for graduation except learning a foreign language. He speaks the Polynesian language of Tonga, where he lived for three months in 1973, but it was not recognized by Dartmouth.

In 1984, Hawkins organized fellow carpenters to put up a pre-fabricated shanty town in minutes on the College Green at Dartmouth despite promised resistance from security. Students then occupied the shanty-town, instigating a nationwide wave of similar protests that led to many college portfolio divestments of Apartheid-linked securities.

Independent politics

In the 1980s, Hawkins decided to prioritize his political activity on building an independent progressive political party. He believed that progressive issue campaigns would be more effective if there was an independent "people’s party."

Hawkins has been active in many non-sectarian efforts to build independent politics. These include local independent parties where he lived:

He was also involved in national independent parties:

Furthermore, he was active in a series of national coalitions committed to independent politics:

  • People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, 1971–1974;
  • Mass Party Organizing Committee, 1974–1978;
  • Peoples Alliance, 1978–1981;
  • National Committee for Independent Political Action, 1981–1995;
  • Independent Progressive Politics Network, 1995–present.

The Green Party

In 1984, Hawkins was one of the co-founders of the Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke as their presidential ticket in 1996. Hawkins currently serves as a Green Party of New York representative to the Green Party of the United States National Committee a position he has held for years [1].He also holds the position of a state committee member from Onondaga County [2]. Hawkins has expressed support and endorsed the Center for Voting and Democracy Instant Runoff Voting campaign [3].

Hawkins worked on many electoral campaigns, including the Cleaver/Dowd 1968, Spock/Hobson 1972, and Commoner/Harris 1980 presidential campaigns, the 1970s Liberty Union campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Michael Parenti, and several Green campaigns in Vermont and New Hampshire between 1985 and 1990. Howie also gained experience by volunteering in the New Hampshire primaries for major party candidates, namely, Pete McCloskey, the anti-war Republican challenger to Richard Nixon in 1972, and Fred Harris, the populist Democratic candidate in 1976.

Political roles in Syracuse

Since coming to Syracuse in 1991, Hawkins has been nominated by the Greens to run for city council, mayor, county executive, state comptroller, the US House, US Senate and New York Governor. He has been the Upstate New York Field Coordinator for Nader/LaDuke 2000 and Nader/Camejo 2004. In 2009, he was the New York State Field Coordinator for Nader/Gonzalez 2008, while also contributing and collecting signatures for the Green Party's McKinney/Clemente ticket, believing that both tickets deserved to on the ballot and their messages heard by the public.

2006 campaign for Senate

Hawkins was the Green Party of New York's candidate for the United States Senate in the state of New York.

His signature campaign issue was the Iraq War. Hawkins criticized incumbent Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's endorsement of the Iraq war resolution, and continued support for an American troop presence in Iraq. Hawkins pledged to implement what he describes as a modern-day version of the McGovern–Hatfield Amendment — a proposed Senate resolution intended to cut off funding for the Vietnam War — which would defund military operations for the U.S. Armed Forces unless and until they were redeployed out of theater. He also campaigned for a World War II scale mobilization for a Clean Energy Transition, with renewable energy replacing carbon and nuclear fuels and the money for investing in the transition coming from cuts in the military budget on the order of 50-75 percent.

Hawkins received 55,469 votes in the November 2006 election (during which Clinton was re-elected), for 1.2% of the total votes cast.

2008 campaign for House of Representatives

Hawkins ran for United States Congress in New York's 25th congressional district on the Green Populist line (which has no connection to the Green Party). In addition to ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, single payer health care, and a crash program for a Clean Energy Transition, Hawkins opposed the bailout of insolvent big banks, calling for their nationalization, a write off of bad loans, a moratorium on home foreclosures, and public refinancing of stressed home mortgages on a reduced principal, fixed interest, long term basis. He has characterized the Senate version of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) with an additional $100 billion in tax breaks as putting "Lipstick on a pig".

US House election, 2008: New York District 25, 99.2% reporting
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Dan Maffei 146,411 54.5 +5.3
Republican Dale Sweetland 113,358 42.2 +42.2
Green Howie Hawkins 8,855 3.3 +3.3
Majority 33,053 12.3 +10.7
Turnout 268,624 100 +23.4

2010 campaign for Governor

In May 2010, Hawkins was nominated to run for Governor of New York State as the Green Party candidate. His campaign was also supported by the Socialist Party of New York.[5] Hawkins' campaign focused on the financial meltdown and unemployment in the state. In an interview in May 2010, Hawkins said,

“The people of New York need someone in Albany who will stand up for Main Street and Martin Luther King Blvd., rather than someone bought and controlled by Wall Street. A million New Yorkers need a living wage jobs now. My campaign will show how we can fast track their creation.”

Hawkins sought to restore progressive income tax rates, such as those that New York had in the 1970s, and to increase the sharing of state revenues with local governments. For example, Hawkins said he favored increasing state aid to local governments by changing the annual legislated exemption from State Finance Law, which requires the sharing of 8 percent of state revenues with local governments. Additionally, like several other Green Party Governor candidates running in the US, Hawkin's platform calls for the creation of a state bank to target public investments for a sustainable green economic recovery.

Hawkins was critical of his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, and challenged him to participate in public forums with the other gubernatorial candidates. In a New York Daily News interview, Hawkins expressed his concerns with some of Cuomo's positions:

"... he [Cuomo] wants to solve the state budget crisis by cutting spending such as for state workers and schools. He ignores that the root cause of the problem is not spending but the huge tax cuts for the wealthy that began when he was helping his father as Governor. Instead of spending caps, we need the wealthy and Wall Street to pay their fair share."[6]

Hawkins supports single-payer, community-based health care and would work to end the "drug war". He also supports marriage equality and reproductive freedom, including abortion. Renewable energy and public power were central to his campaign platform, which described a Statewide Sustainability Plan for renewable energy for New York. Hawkins has also stated that he would shut down New York’s aging nuclear power plants as soon as replacement power in renewable energy comes on line.

On November 2, 2010, Hawkins received nearly 60,000 votes, allowing the Green Party of New York to be listed on the ballot for the next 4 years.[7][8]

In December 2010, Hawkins was named co-chair of the newly recognized Green Party of New York.[9]

2011 campaign for Common Councilor

Hawkins announced his candidacy for 4th District Common Councilor in Syracuse in September 2011, running as a Green Party candidate.[10][11] His opponent was a Democrat, Khalid Bey. Hawkins received endorsements from the Syracuse Post Standard, the Green Party of Onondaga County, UNITE HERE Local 150, and the Greater Syracuse Labor Council.[12][13]

Hawkins planned to sponsor resolutions for state tax code reforms to require more from the state's wealthiest, and to share more revenues with cities. He also supported the establishment of a municipal development bank to provide financing for local cooperative businesses and a 0.4% “commuter tax” on the incomes of suburbanites working in the city.[14]

The final result, after the Board of Elections count of paper ballots and re-canvass, was 1214 to 1118, with Hawkins receiving 96 votes less than the winner, Khalid Bey.

2013 campaign for Common Councilor

On May 20, 2013, Hawkins announced his candidacy for 4th District Common Councilor in Syracuse to run against incumbent Democrat Khalid Bey.[15] Hawkins pointed out that support for his campaign has been growing over time, noting that the 48 percent of the vote he received for district councilor in 2011 was substantially increased from the 3 percent he received in 1993.

On October 16, 2013, Hawkins published a fiscal position paper with mayoral candidate Kevin Bott focused on a new scaled local income tax, and the role of the state in the fiscal crisis in Syracuse. Bott and Hawkins point out that New York revenue sharing with its biggest cities has decreased from the teens to just about one percent since the 1970s.[16][17]

Hawkins lost the election to Democrat Khalid Bey by a vote of 1,471 to 995.[18]

2014 campaign for Governor

On April 9, 2014, Hawkins announced his second candidacy for Socialist Alternative, Stanley Aronowitz, Seattle City Council Member, Kshama Sawant and education historian Diane Ravitch.

Diane Ravitch, who worked in the administrations of presidents Bush and Clinton, stated:

I am casting a protest vote for the first time in my life. I am voting for the candidates of the Green Party, Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones. I voted for Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic primary for three reasons: her position on education, on public integrity, and on the environment. And these are the reasons I will cast my ballot in November for the Green Party.[22]

Hawkins' running mate for Lt. Governor is New York City educator and union activist, Brian Jones. Jones worked for nine years as a public school teacher in Harlem and launched his campaign there. He is a founding member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators, the Social Justice Caucus of the New York City Teacher's Union.[23] Jones also worked with Howard Zinn and performed Zinn's one man play, 'Marx in Soho', all over the country. In an interview with the NYC Indypendent in May 2014, Jones stated:

Everyone I know in education — parents, educators, students — is angry at Cuomo. When I started to appreciate that, I began to see the possibility of challenging him from the left. That's what pushed me over the edge and say to myself, 'yes, this is something I should do.'[24]
Hawkins and the Green party acquired 5 percent of the vote which moves the Green Party up to the fourth line on state ballots for the next four years surpassing the Working Families and Independence parties. After the election, Hawkins indicated it would be his last political campaign as a candidate.[25]

Political campaigns

  • Candidate for Governor of New York, Green Party, 2014
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, 4th District, Green Party, 2013
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, 4th District, Green Party, 2011
  • Candidate for Governor of New York, Green Party, 2010
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, 4th District, Green Party, 2009
  • Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 25th District, Green Populist, NY, 2008
  • State co-coordinator for Nader Campaign for New York 2008
  • Co-Chair of the Draft Nader Committee 2007-2008
  • Candidate for Syracuse City Council At-Large, Green Party, 2007
  • Candidate for U.S. Senate, New York, Green Party, 2006
  • Candidate for Mayor, Syracuse, NY, Green Party, 2005
  • Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 25th District, NY, Peace and Justice Party, 2004
  • Field Coordinator for Upstate New York, Nader/Camejo 2004
  • Candidate for New York State Comptroller, Green Party, 2002
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, 4th District, Green Party 2001
  • Field Coordinator for Upstate New York, Nader/LaDuke 2000
  • Candidate for U.S. House, 25th District, NY, Green Party, 2000
  • Candidate for Onondaga County Executive, Green Party, 1999
  • Candidate for New York State Comptroller, Green Party, 1998
  • Candidate for Syracuse Mayor, Green Party, 1997
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, At-Large, Green Party, 1995
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, At-Large, Green Party, 1994
  • Candidate for Syracuse Common Council, At-Large, Green Party (on Liberal Party line), 1993
  • Volunteer, New Hampshire Green Party gubernatorial campaign, Guy Chichester, 1990
  • Volunteer, Burlington Greens municipal campaigns, 1987, 1987, 1989
  • Volunteer, Bernie Sanders for Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, 1981
  • Volunteer, Citizen’s Party Presidential Campaign, Commoner/Harris, 1980
  • Volunteer, Bernie Sanders for Governor, Liberty Union Party, 1976
  • Volunteer, Fred Harris for President, New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Primary, 1976
  • Volunteer, Bernie Sanders for US Senate, Michael Parenti for US Congress, Liberty Union Party of Vermont, 1974
  • Volunteer, People’s Party Presidential Campaign, Spock/Hobson, 1972
  • Volunteer, Pete McCloskey for President, New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary, 1972
  • Volunteer, Peace and Freedom Presidential Campaign, Cleaver/Dowd, 1968


  1. ^ "Election 2010: Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2010.  The New York Times
  2. ^ Mariani, John "Howie Hawkins' votes for governor boost Green Party's ballot status". Retrieved November 3, 2010.  The Post Standard, November 3, 2010
  3. ^ Seiler, Casey "Gov candidate Hawkins pitches ‘Green New Deal’".  Capitol Confidential, April 9, 2014
  4. ^ Tarleton, John (October 28, 2014). "Meet Howie Hawkins, the Anti-Cuomo".  
  5. ^ Mariani, John. "Socialists back Howie Hawkins' Green bid for governor". Retrieved June 15, 2010.  The Syracuse Post Standard, Monday June 14, 2010
  6. ^ Katz, Celeste Katz, Celeste (May 22, 2010). "Green Party's Howie Hawkins Weighs In On Cuomo". Daily News (New York). Retrieved July 4, 2010.  The New York Daily News, May 22, 2010
  7. ^ "Election 2010: Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2010.  The New York Times
  8. ^ Mariani, John "Howie Hawkins' votes for governor boost Green Party's ballot status". Retrieved November 3, 2010.  The Post Standard, November 3, 2010
  9. ^ Green Party certified as ballot qualified Party in NY; elects statewide officers
  10. ^ Howie Hawkins to run for Syracuse Common Council
  11. ^ Howie Hawkins: Perennial power to the people
  12. ^ Endorsements
  13. ^ Our Endorsements: Syracuse Common Council,
  14. ^ Syracuse city council race pits familiar face against party favorite
  15. ^ Green Party's Howie Hawkins announces race for 4th District Syracuse city council in live chat
  16. ^ Delaney, Ryan (Oct 17, 2013). "Greens call for more state aid and local income tax". Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  17. ^ Knauss, Tim (Oct 16, 2013). "Syracuse Green Party candidates tout higher state aid, city income tax". Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ Knaus, Tim (November 5, 2013) "Two new faces to join Syracuse Common Council, if results hold." Syracuse Post-Standard. (Retrieved Mar 24, 2013.)
  19. ^ Gormley, Michael (April 9, 2014). "Green Party candidate for NY governor calls for $15-an-hour minimum wage". Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  20. ^ Seiler, Casey "Gov candidate Hawkins pitches ‘Green New Deal’".  Capitol Confidential, April 9, 2014
  21. ^ Hawkins: Endorsements
  22. ^ Gormley, Michael "Education advocate Diane Ravitch endorses Hawkins for governor’".  Newsday, September 26, 2014
  23. ^ Moody, Richard "Green party solidifies ticket".| accessdate=May 27, 2014
  24. ^ Tarleton, John "NYC Educator Runs for Lt. Gov: An Interview with Brian Jones".  Indypendent, May 13th, 2014
  25. ^

External links

  • Howie Hawkins Campaign Website, 2014
  • "Restore State Revenue Sharing Funded by Progressive Taxation: The Once and Future Solution to the City's Fiscal Crisis", position paper, October 16, 2013
  • Howie Hawkins On The Issues, (2006)
  • Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate, by Howie Hawkins, Haymarket Books, 2006.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Office Didn't Exist
Green Party Candidate for New York State Comptroller
1998 and 2002
Succeeded by
Julia Willebrand
Preceded by
David McReynolds
Green Party Candidate for United States Senator from New York
Succeeded by
Cecile Lawrence
Preceded by
Malachy McCourt
Green Party Candidate for New York State Governor
2010 and 2014
Succeeded by
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