To the editor:
I am the Green Party candidate for governor.
Four years ago, I finished third with 5 percent of the vote. Several of the issues I raised — such as a ban on fracking, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and paid family leave — were at least partially adopted by the governor after the election.
After the primary debate, which largely ignored upstate New York and many critical issues starting with climate change, I proposed four regional debates — the New York City metro area, the Capital District, central New York, and western New York) to each focus on a topic area: the economy, government reform, the environment and climate, and social policy, including education, health care, housing, criminal justice and civil rights.
The debate rules should be determined by all of the candidates and the media and civic organizations, not just Mr. Cuomo. The media and civic organizations should organize the debates and hold them, whether or not Mr. Cuomo decides to appear.
There are many critical problems facing the state that the voters should hear from the candidates on. The climate change crisis is getting so bad that The New York Times Magazine devoted its whole issue recently to an article concluding that the planet is doomed.
We need an emergency mobilization to halt the burning of fossil fuels, and instead create jobs and lower electric costs by moving to 100 percent clean energy as fast as possible.
Many parents and teachers know we need to improve and fully fund our schools and focus on quality of education in desegregated schools, not high-stakes testing. A single-payer health care system would provide quality health care to everyone at less cost than the current multi-payer system.
We need to reverse the growing income inequality in our state, making sure the rich pay their fair share of taxes so we can afford to improve our subways and mass transit, road and bridges, water and sewer systems, and public housing. We need an economy that provides living-wage jobs.
We need to reform our criminal justice system to end cash bail and ensure a speedy trial, while promoting community policing and help for troubled youth to make our neighborhoods safe.
It is time we reclaim our politics from the partisan rancor and mean-spiritedness of the Trump era. One step is to ensure an open and civil debate among all ballot-qualified candidates about the future direction of our state.
The author is the Green Party candidate for governor.