NEW YORK - Charles Barron wants voters to come out in November and wants to remind them that there are more than two candidates running for New York State governor.
On Tuesday, just hours after supporters of Barron's newly formed Freedom Party heckled Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo during a visit to Harlem, Barron, backed by a dozen of his supporters, held a press conference on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, informing people of their choices.
He also explained that if elected governor, he would make public transportation low-cost or free and make State University of New York schools free to attend. "We are launching a get out and vote campaign and talking about why voters have a real reason to vote," he said.
The hot-button issue that has come up is what options black voters have when it comes to the gubernatorial race. Critics have said both Cuomo and Republican candidate and Tea Party darling Carl Paladino have not spoken to issues that concern the black community.
"We are in danger if Cuomo wins and we are in danger if Paladino wins," said Barron. "We are in a state of emergency, and neither Paladino nor Cuomo is the answer."
Barron said that while it appeared Cuomo had strong support from black Democrats on Tuesday, he feels that the current attorney general's visit is too little too late, coming 36 days before the election to meet black voters. Barron even went as far as calling Cuomo's visit "the height of insult."
Outside of the 125th Street subway station on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Cuomo attempted to shake hands and greet black voters before heading to a meeting with black politicians. Freedom Party supporters were inches away from him, asking him what he was going to do for black New Yorkers.
The meet-and-greet didn't last too long before Cuomo ducked into the Dwyer Center, where he met with black leaders such as Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY-District 15), former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and NAACP New York State President Hazel Dukes.
Cuomo condemned Paladino, specifically slamming racist e-mails the upstate favorite sent, calling them offensive.
The Freedom Party is putting our issues on the front burner," said Freedom Party supporter Jitu Weusi, who was in Harlem on Tuesday. "We feel that [Cuomo] hasn't come to our community in the past and he hasn't spoken to any of our issues. That sounds like shady, old-time politics, which is what we are trying to get away from."
Meanwhile, Barron said that Cuomo is trying to prevent him from exercising his right to participate in a debate, saying that, like Cuomo's alleged political practices, he is trying to keep the debate "all white."
"Right now, Cuomo is working against debating because the truth will be told," Barron said, "people are not going for the okey-dokey anymore. He was missing in action all this time and we are saying people need to be missing in action in November and vote for the Freedom Party and Charles Barron.'' As for Paladino, Barron called him a "racist loose canon," saying that he's using "boogeyman scare tactics" to bring the Republican Party into victory.
"Paladino is not an option for the black community," Barron said. "This is why the Freedom Party is the best thing that's happened. When you vote the Freedom Party, you are voting for your right to self-determination and dignity."