Howie Hawkins has campaigned for New York governor and Syracuse mayor. His next race will be the biggest.
Hawkins, a co-founder of the Green Party, announced Wednesday that he is exploring a run for president in 2020. He is planning to seek the Green Party's nomination for the nation's highest office.
The formation of an exploratory committee is Hawkins' response to a call from Green Party members urging him to run for president.
If he runs, Hawkins said he would campaign on the Green New Deal. His proposal would differ from the plan backed by some Democrats by aiming to achieve 100 percent clean energy by 2030.
An "ecosocialist" Green New Deal, as he called it, wouldn't be limited to energy delivery. He wants it to revamp agriculture, manufacturing, the military, transportation and waste management.
"Averting climate disaster requires a major mobilization of resources and transformation of the economy to put the protection of the planet and necessities of the people before profits," Hawkins said in a statement.
Hawkins, 66, has been a candidate for several offices in New York. He was the Green Party's nominee for U.S. Senate in 2006. Two years later, he ran for Congress in the Syracuse area.
Locally, he has campaigned for Syracuse mayor — most recently in 2017 — and for Syracuse Common Council. He was a candidate for Syracuse city auditor in 2015.
Hawkins is a three-time candidate for governor. In 2010, he secured automatic ballot status for the Green Party by receiving 59,906 votes in the gubernatorial election.
His best campaign for governor was 2014, when he received 184,419 votes. Last year, 103,946 New York voters supported his candidacy.
A retired UPS employee and Teamsters member, Hawkins said if elected president he would advocate for an economic bill of rights. The document would include income and job guarantees, Medicare for all, free education from prekindergarten through college and housing for all.
The economic programs would be paid for by cutting military funding and a more progressive tax structure.
"By empowering racially oppressed communities with community ownership and control of public housing, schools, police and businesses, the Green Economy Reconstruction Program will free communities of color from being subject to the decisions of racist employers, bankers, landlords, real estate agents, lawyers, judges, police, parole boards and other gatekeepers," Hawkins said.
There are at least three candidates already seeking the Green Party presidential nomination. Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura announced last year that he had been approached by the Green Party to run for president in 2020.