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Tue., Oct. 6
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Congressional hopeful Donald Hassig dances, preaches at SUNY Potsdam


POTSDAM — Congressional hopeful and environmental activist Donald L. Hassig looks up at the cloudy sky above SUNY Potsdam.

“Do you see that blue patch there, behind the clouds?” he asks. “That’s where I get my energy.”

The Green Party candidate, who received almost 2 percent of the vote in a 2012 congressional run, visits the college often to dance in the plaza and speak about a host of environmental issues. On Friday the topic was hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method by which natural gas is forced out of rock using a pressurized liquid.

Although his speech was supposed to begin at noon, it was 12:30 by the time he arrived and sorted out the confusion with college officials who believed he would not begin until 2 p.m.

Most students ignored Mr. Hassig, hurrying through the plaza on their way to class. One stopped to record the performance on his cellphone, while another waved at the familiar figure.

“I believe college campuses are the place to start the change,” Mr. Hassig said.

Despite the cold and wind, he did not elect to hold his presentation inside. He finds his energy outdoors, he said.

Mr. Hassig announced his plan to run for the 21st Congressional District seat in September.

He will do so without the help of the Green Party of New York, which denounced him during the 2012 campaign after he said Mexican immigrants working on north country dairy farms should be deported.

With no other local candidates interested in running on the Green Party line, Mr. Hassig said, he expects to gather the necessary signatures and end up on the ballot without the help of the statewide party.

“I have no intention of seeking their approval or showing them respect,” he said, condemning the party for denouncing his candidacy without discussing the matter with him first. “They chose to attack me when they didn’t talk to me,” he said.

Although his presentation at SUNY Potsdam was done with the permission of college officials, some of Mr. Hassig’s protests have landed him in jail. The activist has been charged numerous times with trespassing.

If elected, he said, his first priority will be providing free education, free health care and free organic food for all Americans.

Hassig dances in SUNY Potsam plaza
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