Two years after garnering 1.5 percent of the vote, Steve Greenfield is once again the Green Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 19th District. Greenfield spoke with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.
Greenfield says he is running on his personal record of achievements, including "... many years of service in the Ulster County Volunteer Firefighters Association and the New York State School Boards Association.” Greenfield says he was “an Eagle Scout, and an independent contractor going back to his first job as a morning bicycle delivery boy for the Daily News when he was 15."
The 19th congressional district sprawls across 11 counties. The 59-year old Green Party candidate lives in New Paltz. His opponents are Republican Kyle Van De Water, Libertarian Victoria Alexander and first-term Democratic Congressman Antonio Delgado.
"You know, Antonio Delgado has not represented the interests of the people of this district, not even close, he has done like any professional politician, a very good job of retail politics, going out to press the flesh, sending responses when people send in questions and things like that. But let's face it, the reality of his voting record is that he was just awarded the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, his first special prize, he's only been in office for 18 months, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce cited him as the member of Congress most likely to co-sponsor republican legislation of things that are advocated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of course, is the world's largest corporate lobby, OK, and they just gave him their very first award of this nature. He's serving them, he's not serving us."
Greenfield claims both Delgado and Van De Water are corporate lawyers who may not be best-suited to represent the business economy that permeates the 19th.
And he says the public health crisis should be addressed immediately.
"We have to detach our health insurance from our employment, OK, when COVID-19 has 40 million people lost their jobs. And I cannot believe that, you know, that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are both stating unequivocally, that they are not considering any form of providing Americans with complete health insurance. How can this be, when we're in the middle of a pandemic, people can't go to work, they do need to go to the doctor, they've lost their health insurance because they've lost their jobs. And still in this crisis that could have been averted. If we had given this proper attention, and not have it attached to employment and the business cycle."
Greenfield says there are other steps that can help restore normalcy once the pandemic has passed.
"Temporarily, we need to provide direct public employment and also financing for local contracting by independent contractors and private business, for the creation of clean energy infrastructure, remediating our toxic waste, and we do that for as long as is necessary, because not only is that solving our present and future environmental problems, but it's solving our immediate economic problem and health problem putting people back to work, giving them health insurance, we can, and we must solve unemployment, pollution, climate change, and having our national security tied to a finite resource in foreign countries. Do that all at the same time."
Greenfield blames the current state of affairs on the two major political parties.
"They're not even acknowledging where they've brought us. And so they're obviously not going to take us back out. You know, we have to acknowledge that that is the situation and you don't have to take my word for it. You can read the platforms of Kyle and of Antonio, and of Joe Biden and Donald Trump. And you can see that nobody is even recognizing former formally and structurally that this is the set of conditions that we're in that these conditions are emergencies. And if they're not calling it an emergency, and if they're not proposing anything different, other than just, you know, elect my side instead of the other side, then why would anyone believe that that we're getting out of this, we're gonna say, stay stuck where we are for a very long time unless we change the way that we vote."
Alluding to his 17-year stint as a volunteer firefighter, Greenfield says he is voters’ best choice.
"My approach is, you know, to the state that America is in right now is the same as when my pager goes off when someone's called 911. Go in there, solve the problem, right, resolve the situation, solve the problem. And if you manage to do that successfully, then you will finally be at liberty to decide how you want to fine tune things and restore things back to some state of normalcy. But when there's an emergency, you acknowledge it as an emergency, you treat it as an emergency and you do what needs to be done. Right now we are in a state of crisis. As I said, our health is in crisis, our economy's in crisis, our national security's in crisis, our social relations are in crisis, the economy is in crisis, I cannot really think of, you know, the the climate, the environment is in crisis, right fires everywhere first. I cannot think of a single front that is part of the ordinary day of an American citizen that is not in crisis right now. And the reason that you should vote for me instead of either of the major party candidates, is because I am viewing these things as what they are as emergencies as crises, the worst firefighter would look at them, and say, let's get the wet stuff on the red stuff."