PLATTSBURGH, NY- Howie Hawkins is a resident of Syracuse. He ran for Governor of New York three times keeping the Green Party on the ballot. He became involved with politics at a young age. He recalls being 12 years old in 1964 and wondering which party he belonged too. Many years later, he co-founded the Green Party in 2001 and helped write the National Green Party Platform.

Hawkins wants to focus on what he calls life or death issues for his presidential campaign — climate change, inequality and the nuclear arms race.

He says the Green Party is a place for people to go who want to change the current state of politics, especially young people.

“We are trying to give them a place to go. I can relate to that. I grew up in the 1960’s saw the major parties dragging their feet in civil rights and then starting on Vietnam I was an angry man and here I am 50 years later and I’m an even angrier old man because the problems that should have been solved have not.”

Hawkins hopes to tackle climate change through what’s called the Green New Deal, part of the National Green Party’s platform.  He took part in writing the original Green New Deal and it is a fundamental part of the party. He believes it’s crucial to save the planet.

“The Green New Deal, which is our answer to the climate crisis and the inequality crisis because it’s a green economy reconstruction program to get us to 100 percent reduction in greenhouse gases and 100 percent clean energy by 2030,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins said many democrats have adapted some version of the Green New Deal.

“They’ve taken the brand and they’ve diluted the content. They’ve taken the deadline and brought it to 2050 instead of 2030,” said Hawkins.

According to Hawkins, the life expectancy gap between the rich and the poor is 20 years. He hopes to change that with things like a higher minimum wage, universal public housing and rent control, and free public education.

Hawkins feels the Green Party is needed to fight the nuclear arms race.

“What I’m calling for is the united states to pledge no first use,” Hawkins said. “Around the world people are concerned about the nuclear arms race and it’s not even being raised by the two major party candidates.”

However, right now Hawkins says he is focusing on raising enough money to get on the ballot, but he hopes his campaign will put the green party on the map.

“We can make a big difference in terms of raising issues and getting ourselves in a place where we can start electing thousands of greens in local offices across the country,” said Hawkins.