Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced his candidacy for New York City Mayor last month. Prior to the 2020 presidential election, Andrew Yang was solely known amongst technological groups, unbeknownst within the political sphere. Nevertheless, his charisma, wit and trailblazing ideas won over the hearts of many young New Yorkers that affectionately brand themselves as the Yang Gang.
Yang suspended his presidential campaign last February; he spent time as a CNN contributor after leaving the campaign trail. Yang initially had said he had no plans to run for mayor in New York, where he has lived for nearly 25 years, yet this quickly changed in January 2021 when he officially announced his intention to run.
According to a recently published New York Times article, Andrew Yang is a very unconventional candidate. His experience includes being a CNN commentator, a nonprofit founder and a podcast host. Yang’s candidacy tests whether New Yorkers want a fresh new face with innovative ideas geared towards the city’s recovery, or if its citizens want a familiar, local figure with a traditional style of governing.
Yang’s website contains an overview of his plans and a breakdown of his proposed policies. These policies include setting up the “largest income program in history, investing in a human-centered economy, returning to fact-based governance, creating an accessible healthcare system and expanding affordable housing.” He also placed notable emphasis on the accountability of public officers, especially when it comes to police practices.
According to an article written by CNN, 500,000 people who are “living in extreme poverty will receive an average of $2,000 per year as a part of a local universal income contingency plan, one that would become the largest one in our country’s history.”
His campaign also focuses on attracting content creators — from platforms such as TikTok— to the city, with the hope to make NY fun. This transition aims to make the city a more affordable space for local artists and creative individuals. Coupled with making NY “fun,” Mr. Yang is proposing a new position: “Deputy Mayor of Entertainment, Nightlife and Culture” to oversee the growth of content creators.
Yang is one of the many New York City Mayor aspirants, including Shaun Donovan, former U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Brooklyn borough president, and former New York Police Department Capt. Eric Adams; former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire; New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer; and Maya Wiley, former counsel to de Blasio. Amidst the aftermath of a global pandemic, the contenders are competing to secure a spot to combat skyrocketing unemployment rates, poverty and hunger.
The Knight News reached out to Yang’s campaign team to learn more about his plans for CUNY expansion programs and vocational training but has not received a response.