Howie Hawkins to run in city

Running for what?

Green Party ponders its role this election:

Although Howie Hawkins is probably the most serious and knowledgeable political candidate the area has seen in current memory, he has now run for local office and lost so many times he can comfortably joke about it. "How many has it been?" he asks rhetorically, "Thirteen? Maybe the next one will be lucky." The humor, however, is ironic, since the local Green Party, which Hawkins has pioneered since his arrival in town, has traditionally cast itself in the classic third party stance, knowing it will not win elections, but will be able to raise and articulate issues.

In Hawkins' most successful run, four years ago in the mayoral contest, he outshone current incumbent Democrat Matt Driscoll and current County Executive Republican Joanie Mahoney in forums and debates, hammering on the issue of public power. He brought the issue to the table, put it on the city's agenda, and finally maneuvered it into the city budget for a study of the concept. The phrase most often heard about that effort then was, "If only Howie were a Democrat, I could vote for him." That effort and its results got local Greens thinking maybe they could win an election, if they could find the right one.

This year Hawkins and the Greens are taking their time in scoping the situation. Over the years Hawkins has been their most prominent, sometimes only, and certainly most articulate candidate. If the mayoral forums and debates are to provide bully pulpits to define the current status of the public power issue, Hawkins would be a logical reprise. But at this point, Hawkins would rather run for Common Councilor-at-Large. The Republicans are running only one candidate, Fanny Villerreal, for the two at-Large seats available, Democrats have two, Lance Denno and Jean Kessner. An appeal to the whistful "If only" Democrats of four years ago, and a follow-up issue to public power--perhaps municipal cable--might just put Hawkins in the running.

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