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Hawkins rallies for Green Party with support of Buffalo Teachers Federation

Mike Desmond

It is three gubernatorial candidates in three days, with Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins rallying a small group of supporters on Sunday at the Buffalo Teachers Federation headquarters.

In a split of teacher unions across the state, the B.T.F. is backing Hawkins instead of Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was in Niagara Falls on Friday rallying his troops, followed by Republican candidate Rob Astorino was in Amherst on Saturday, urging his supporters to get out the vote. Hawkins says he's a supporter of public education, and the two-major party candidates are not - especially Cuomo...

"He's underfunded public schools. We're now at a 65-year low in terms of the proportion of the state budget going to state education aid to local school districts. And he'll say, 'Well, we spend more per student than any other state in the nation.' We've got high costs in New York and we have the seventh worst distribution of that aid in terms of its equitability. And that's really affected schools like Buffalo and my home city of Syracuse. We've lost a quarter of our teaching staff," said Hawkins.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Kevin Gibson, Secretary of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, at the Green Party rally at B.T.F. headquarters

Hawkins says Cuomo is cutting taxes on his rich supporters and that it is showing up in cuts in aid to schools. The Green candidate says the governor is also supporting Common Core and high-stakes testing, and that it is also hurting education.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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