This article was originally published on September 7, 2006

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Former presidential candidate and long time consumer activist Ralph Nader traveled to Albany on Tuesday, September 19 to endorse Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Senate. Mr Nader described Howie Hawkins as “an honest and dedicated man”.

Both men spoke at a press conference at the State Capital about the need for debates between all six candidates in this year’s Senatorial race. Mr Hawkins spoke of Senator Clintons avoidance of debating Jonathon Tasini during the Democratic Primary. Mr. Hawkins believes that her refusing to debate the Iraq War with Tasini was disrepective of rank and file Democrats who oppose the war, and urged her to debate the issue so voters would be able to make an informed choice. “A debate just with John Spencer, who is also pro-war, would not be a real debate” Mr Hawkins said.

“I’m here to say that I want to debate Clinton, but also John Spencer and the other three so-called third party candidates”. Mr. Hawkins brought up the fact the Jody Rell, the Republican Governor of Connecticut who is running for reelection has stated that she won’t agree to a debate unless the Green Party candidate is included. “So the question is can Hillary Clinton meet the same democratic spirit that the Republican Governor has shown to the debates”.

Mr Nader stated “It’s bad enough that the system is so rigged that it provides only two major parties and impedes other candidates and parties from even getting on the ballot . . . but when it reduces itself to one party dominated districts or states, then there are only coronations, not elections. Here we have Hillary Clinton who is way ahead in the polls . . . and she views this election as her coronation. She does not adhere to the basic democratic processes which say to the American people no matter where you are, no matter how dominant you are, in a pre-election period, you should have a fair-enough policy to let dissenting views be aired before the public”.

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In endorsing Hawkins, Nader said “I urge voters in New York not to allow Senator Clinton to sweet talk them, to flatter them, to mislead them, but to turn the tables on Hillary Clinton and demand that she debate all qualified candidates for the US Senate . . . so that issues of corporate power and injustice be placed in clear and contrasting fashion between her position, Mr. Spencer’s position and the Green Party Howie Hawkins position. Howie Hawkins is not a candidate who just throws his hat into the ring for a third party. He is one of the most accomplished civic organizers, for a longer period of time, that I’ve ever met. He’s hung in there with detail, with patience, with grace, with determination, on one controversial matter after another”.

When asked if his support for Mr. Hawkins was simply a way to attack Senator Clinton, a possible opponent for President in 2008, Mr. Nader replied that he was supporting Hawkins because he believed in him and his message. As to another run for the Presidency, Nader said he would make up his mind by next summer.

When asked if he was endorsing the entire Green Party slate, Nader said “No, I only endorse those who I know”.

It should be noted that the author is volunteering his services as a web designer to the Hawkins campaign, as well as to local Democrats.

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