October 17, 2005

Att. Gen. Hopeful Visits C.U.

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As part of a campaign trail around upstate New York, Democratic state attorney general candidate Mark Green ’67 stopped by Cornell on Friday. The former Public Advocate for New York City touted that his chief qualification for becoming “the people’s lawyer,” is his career as “a people’s lawyer.”

Green’s main priorities as attorney general would be healthcare and business fraud.

“The fun and creative part of the job is to think up innovative law suits that protect people’s heath and money,” Green told The Sun.

Speaking at a meeting of the Cornell Democrats, Green also emphasized the importance of children’s rights.

“If I can find a way to use the law to protect children, I’ll do it,” Green said.

Relaying a first-hand account of the attacks of Sept. 11, the candidate also called for federal, state and local task forces on terrorism.

With 14 months to go before election day, Green’s campaign is well underway. He has already been to 17 counties in the state, and during this trip he plans to visit five more, including Chemung, Tioga, Schuyler, Yates and Lewis.

Fund raising is in the works, as well. Mike Larocca, the deputy finance director for Mark Green for Attorney General, wrote on the campaign’s website that Green has been successfully achieving his goal of $700,00 every six months. In July, the campaign had reached $1.4 million.

“I need $4-5 million to adequately win the election,” Green said.

Green recently took some time off of his own campaign to do some work for Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City, Fernando Ferrer. The two democrats ran against each other in the 2001 mayoral race, with Green defeating Ferrer in the primary.

The benefit of advocating for a former opponent, Green said, is that “when Democrats splinter, we loose; when we unite, we win … and [Ferrer] is going to have a steep uphill climb when you combine the incumbency and $100 million [that he’s up against].”

Green, himself, has been beaten in several political elections, including two bids for U.S. Senate (1986 and 1998) on top of the bid for mayor of New York City in 2001. He attributes his failed campaigns to the fact that his “first impulse is to think substantively rather than tactically, so [he doesn’t] succeed against people who are better at manipulation. My wife says I’m not cunning enough and disingenuous enough to be a really good politician.”

Regardless of his own history as a politician, Green had commentary on certain successfully elected officials.

“Has there ever been a worse president?” he asked. “I mean I never met Franklin Pierce…”

He criticized President Bush’s ability to take the United States’ economy from a projected $5 trillion surplus over the next 10 years, to a projected $5 trillion deficit over the next 10 years. He questioned the president’s skill and ethics, saying “Bush is running on his values – incompetence and cronyism.”

Green also criticized Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro (R). His visit to Ithaca came one day after that of the U.S. Senate hopeful. Commenting on the Republican front-runner, Green described Pirro as “a waste of good will and good space. As her announcement speech indicated [when Pirro misplaced the 10th page of her talk], she doesn’t hold a candle to [Sen. Clinton].”

The messages of the attorney general candidate were well-received. “It was a good message of what needs to be done by the attorney general over the next few years. The legacy of Attorney General Spitzer has to be continued, and that’s why I’m so happy we have great candidates like Mark Green,” said Mitchell Fagen ’07, president of Cornell Democrats.

Green emphasized the necessity of student involvement in elections. “The bulk of the peace movement was [driven by students],” he said. “In a multi-candidate race, a relative handful of younger voters could be key.”

Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun News Editor