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Stein to Hawkins: Don't Give Up the Fight

Once and possibly future Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein was in Albany yesterday, and issued a call for the party's highest profile New York member - Howie Hawkins - not to hang up his campaigning hat just yet.

During a CapTon interview, Stein said she believes "without a doubt" that Hawkins should run again for governor in 2018, which would be his third shot at the state's top office.

"The powers that be are very afraid of him," Stein said.

New York did do the thing on banning fracking," Stein later added. "But that wasn't unrelated to Howie and the challenge that he threw down related to fracking. So, we really need the Green Party, and people are ready."

Hawkins, who works part-time unloading trucks for UPS at night, is something of a perennial candidate. He ran for the US Senate in 2006, served as a placeholder candidate on some ballots in 2008 for presidential candidate Ralph Nader, and received 41 percent of the vote in a Syracuse Common Council race (2009). 

Hawkins restored ballot status for the Green Party by receiving more than the threshold 50,000 votes during his first run for governor in 2010 - the year Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was first elected.

And last year, Hawkins received close to 5 percent of the vote - a Green Party record - vaulting the party to Row D on the ballot, surpassing both the Independence and Working Families parties.

In the wake of his stronger-than-expected 2014 run, Hawkins initially suggested he had run his last campaign, saying it was time to let someone else have a turn. But he has since backed away from that statement, and has kept up his criticism of Cuomo - particularly when it comes to the new budget.  

Stein, who ran for president on the Green Party line in 2012 and has launched an exploratory committee with an eye on another run in 2016, is on a national listening tour.

She stopped in Albany to highlight the dangers of so-called "oil trains," which she called an "imminent threat" to public health and safety that should be immediately banned by the DEC. 

Happening Today 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City. 

In the afternoon, VP Joe Biden will attend an investiture ceremony honoring former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg at the British Ambassador’s Residence. This event is closed press.

At 9 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James, city Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor and other advocates and public policy officials participate in a “Homeless Policy Forum” where Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will serve as a featured speaker, as part of the event sponsored by Care for the Homeless and CUNY’s Baruch College; room 750, 151 E. 25th St., Manhattan. 

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will at speaking at the ribbon cutting for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s annual National Action Network convention, Sheraton New York, 811 7th Ave., Manhattan. (A media availability will follow). AG Eric Schneiderman is also scheduled to speak. 

At 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul will discuss Cuomo’s initiatives to support businesses at a roundtable with women business leaders, Amherst Chamber of Commerce, 400 Essjay Rd., First Floor, Williamsville. (The event is closed to members of the press, but an availability with Hochul will follow at 11 a.m.)

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter will join Alstom employees for a tour of their West Henrietta facility in support of the national Stand Up 4 Transportation campaign lead by the American Public Transportation Association, 1025 John St., West Henrietta.

At 10:30 a.m., Staten Island DA and candidate for Congress Dan Donovan will commit to introducing federal I-STOP legislation to crack down on prescription drug abuse, in front of the YMCA Counseling Center, 285 Vanderbuilt Ave., Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley will honor two citizens for saving a fellow citizen’s life by performing CPR and calling 9-1-1, Monroe County Office Building, 1st Floor, County Atrium, 39 West Main St., Rochester. 

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik meets with veterans at Tupper Lake VFW Post 3120, 196 Park St., Tupper Lake.

At noon, Sen. Tony Avella and regional animal rights advocates promote the lawmaker’s legislative proposal that would impose a statewide ban on importing, possessing, selling or transporting endangered species of elephants, leopards, lions, black rhinoceroses and white rhinoceroses native to Africa; steps, City Hall, Manhattan. 

At 1 p.m., Schneiderman makes an announcement at his NYC office, 120 Broadway, 25th Floor, Manhattan. 

At 1:30 p.m., Stefanik tours St. Joe’s Veteran’s Facility, 159 Glenwood Dr., Saranac Lake.

At 2 p.m., Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Public Safety Vanessa Gibson, Councilman Brad Lander, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, elected officials, parents, students, and advocates from across the city will call for an increase in funding, headcount, and benefits for our school crossing guards, City Hall steps, Manhattan. 

At 6 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Hispanic Federation 25th Anniversary Gala, Waldorf Astoria, Manhattan. This event will be closed press. Also expected to attend: US Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mark-Viverito. 

Also at 6 p.m., shiva will be held for the late NYC labor leader Victor Gotbaum, 211 Central Park West (at 81st Street), Manhattan. 

At approximately 8:20 p.m., Cuomo attends the 2015 National Italian American Foundation New York Gala, Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd St., Manhattan.

Last Night on CapTon: 

- Here's a link to my full interview with Dr. Jill Stein, which is referenced above. 

- The Insiders - Bruce Gyory and John McArdle - weighed in on gubernatorial vacations, presidential aspirations and who has the upper hand in the looming post-budget session. 

- AQE's Jasmine Gripper joined me in the studio to discuss growing support among NYSUT allies for the opt-out movement, which she said is intended both to undermine the teacher evaluation system and send a message to the governor about opposition to over testing.

Gripper rejected allegations that schools will endanger federal funding if a high percentage to students opt not to sit for the standardized ELA and math tests that will be administered later this month, though she admitted that the opt-out movement is not optimal for all schools, or all parents. 

Coming Up on CapTon:

- Vanity Fair writer Michael Shnayerson, author of the recently released unauthorized biography of Cuomo called "The Contender", joins me in the studio to discuss the book and the reception it has received thus far. 

- Mike Neppl, general counsel and director of government relations at the New York Library Association, will be in the studio to discuss the close to 6 percent increase in funding included in the recently passed state budget for libraries.

That still doesn't bring the state up to its legal funding responsibility, (it's about $10 million short), but it's a lot better than the flat funding libraries have come to expect. 

In fact, the $5 million increase is the biggest year-to-year funding bump for the public institutions in seven years. And they're also getting an exemption from the MTA payroll tax, which was imposed in 2009.



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