Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum rips Ann Marie Buerkle, Dan Maffei

Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum told The Post-Standard Monday she is running for Congress because the major parties have not addressed two crises faced by the nation’s youth — the economy and climate change.

In a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board, Rozum, 28, of Syracuse, sharply criticized both incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle and Democrat Dan Maffei, who are locked in a tight battle for the 24th Congressional District seat.

She said Buerkle’s brand of Republicanism comes from “a fantasy world,” while Maffei represents “a spineless part of the Democratic Party.”

Rozum’s platform includes a plan for a “Green New Deal” that would create public jobs in the clean energy sector, including high-speed rail. And she favors an economic reorganization that would slash the defense budget in half, tax the rich and provide free education from pre-kindergarten through graduate school.

She opposes the Affordable Care Act, which she said was shaped by corporate contributors in a form of “legalized bribery.” Instead, she favors a single-payer system. She also would work to end the war on drugs, beginning by legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana. And she would forgive student loan debt to stimulate the economy and ease the financial burden on young people.

“If we can bail out banks, I think we can bail out students,” she said.

Rozum, a coordinator for the Syracuse Peace Council, acknowledges she faces a tough challenge in a race that is likely to be the most expensive congressional campaign ever in the Syracuse area. She said her campaign started with the goal of raising $100,000, but so far has raised only $3,000, which she calls “chump change.”

She said she has received mixed reviews on her candidacy, with some praising her for her independence and others warning that in a very close race she could take votes away from Maffei and swing the election to Buerkle. She is unmoved by the latter view.

“How long are we going to vote based on our fears and not for what we want?” she said.


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