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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 16:47 GMT
Profile: Mark Green
Mark Green looks towards New York
Mark Green has been a career politician
The Democratic candidate in the New York mayoral race, Mark Green, is a veteran crusader for left-wing causes.

He has caused controversy both within his own party and beyond it.

I have been an outspoken independent, caught up in fighting the Vietnam War, caught up in being a consumer and environmental advocate, and I've been caught up in standing up to the mob, and now Rudy Giuliani

Mark Green
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr Green launched his career in 1970 as a public interest lawyer for America's consumer rights campaigner Ralph Nader.

It was in this role that he gained attention for lawsuits against the Nixon administration and a string of books attacking American corporate power.

But observers say that Mr Green has been careful to shift his campaign into the safer central ground of New York politics in his bid to take over the reins of the city when the incumbent Rudolph Giuliani steps down.

Crime and punishment

Mr Green's New York city hall career began in 1989, when he was appointed consumer affairs commissioner. Four years later he was elected New York's Public Advocate, the next-in-line to the mayor.

During his time in office he has filed numerous lawsuits relating to consumer protection, as well as many suits against the New York Police Department relating to police brutality.

Mark Green
Mr Green says party leaders do not see him as a "comfortable old shoe"
Relations between Mr Green and Mr Giuliani, who has thrown his full weight behind Republican contender Michael Bloomberg, have been consistently fraught.

But in many respects he has vowed to continue Mayor Giuliani's legacy if he is elected.

His first major campaign speech was on managing crime, including a pledge to reduce crime by half and to raise the salaries of police officers.

Observers say he made a tactical move in securing the backing of Mr Giuliani's former police commissioner to ward off any allegations that as mayor he would be soft on crime.

As well as maintaining Mr Giuliani's aggressive approach on fighting crime, he has promised to keep taxes down to spur business growth, and hold teachers accountable for their pupils' grades.

But on social issues he remains clearly on the left of US politics. Mr Green is a supporter of gay marriage and of abortion rights.

Foes and friends

In addition to his differences with Mr Giuliani, Mr Green admits that he has problems with members of his own party.

Former New York mayor Edward Koch - a Democrat - once described Mr Green as "obnoxious".

Until the final weeks of the primary elections for the mayoral race, Mr Green only had the support of one of the five Democratic leaders in the five New York boroughs.

"It is true that my history and my impulse towards directness and independence has occasionally annoyed some key figures," says Mr Green. "I am not regarded by the party leaders as a comfortable old shoe or an insider or a drinking partner."

But he did win the somewhat reluctant backing of the influential New York Times newspaper.

"Mr Green has not been the most lovable candidate in New York history, but he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues, a sensible approach to public policy, and the soul of a fighter," wrote the paper in its official endorsement.

See also:

06 Nov 01 | Americas
New York goes to the polls
06 Nov 01 | Business
Feud erupts in New York election
19 May 00 | Americas
Giuliani quits Senate race
28 Jan 01 | Americas
New York mourns John Lindsay
05 Jun 01 | Americas
Billionaire eyes Big Apple
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