Greens Can Win This Election

Greens Can Win This Election: Introducing Kevin Bott for Mayor

Statement by Howie Hawkins

September 11, 2013 News Conference on City Hall Steps

Good afternoon. Thank you for coming.

I am Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for 4th District Councilor and it is my honor to introduce Kevin Bott, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Syracuse.

Votes for Green Party candidates are no longer just send-them-a-message votes. The Green candidates are viable contenders.

I would remind you that as a Green candidate for 4th District Councilor two years ago I received 48% of the vote. 

I would remind those who think the mayoral race is all but over with yesterday's primary that Mayor Miner only got about 150 more votes than the Republican and Conservative candidates in 2009 in a city that has a 3 to 1 Democratic over Republican enrollment advantage and Republicans and Conservatives combined are only 1 in 6 registered voters.

The working class majority in Syracuse is progressive, not conservative.

Kevin Bott is the progressive choice for Syracuse.

I would remind you that two out three of the Miner Machine candidates for council got beat yesterday.

Miner -- and the Miner Machine -- are vulnerable.

I would remind you that Miner's vote yesterday was only 3,651 votes, down from the 4,040 votes she got in the 2009 primary.

I would remind you that Ursula Rozum, the Green Party candidate for Congress last year, got only about 400 fewer votes in the city than Miner got yesterday.

Ursula received 3,274 in a $15,000 campaign against two major party candidates who spent $5 million each.

Voters in Syracuse increasingly support the Greens' progressive policy platform.

I would remind you that Mayor Miner's favorite mayor, Michael Bloomberg, got repudiated yesterday by New York City's progressive choice, Bill DeBlasio.

I would remind you that Tom Richards, the establishment incumbent candidate in the Rochester Democratic mayoral primary, was leading by 36 percentage points in the last poll before the vote – and got upset by Lovely Warren.

All these facts are harbingers of Green Party victories that could come in Syracuse in November.

The truth is – the mayoral race has hardly begun. Two debates in the last week of August, during the State Fair, before Labor Day – when no one was paying attention, and the pathetically low turnout for yesterday's primary, shows that.

Now we begin the debate for real, the debate between the status quo of a one-party city where every elected office is held by a Democrat and the Greens' progressive alternative. 

Kevin Bott can beat Stephanie Miner.

Kevin will campaign on the progressive Green platform and he will outline some of those planks here shortly.

But I am especially enthusiastic in my support for Kevin because he exemplifies the democratic leadership style that this city needs to move forward.

It's the democratic collaborative leadership taught to my generation of progressive activists from the 1960s by people like Ella Baker and Bob Moses in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC.

SNCC fostered the leadership and initiative of those they organized, like Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropping cotton picker who became the powerful spokesperson for the famous the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenge of 1964. 

Kevin is in the next upcoming generation of activists that is carrying on this tradition of democratic, inclusive leadership that has provided the model for all the progressive movements since the 1960s.

Kevin's whole professional life is a testament to that style of leadership.

He comes from and relates to working class people and moves just as easily among university and economic elites.

He exemplifies the kind of leadership that creates the participatory democracy that the SNCC civil rights workers aspired to.

...the kind of leadership that encourages open debate in order to build consensus, instead of imposing decisions high-handedly from the top-down.

 ...the kind of leadership that brings people together to solve common problems. 

That is why, when I am elected 4th District Councilor, I am so looking forward to working with the next Mayor of Syracuse, Kevin Bott.

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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor