Andrew Yang Bio: In His Own Words – Exclusive Video, Policies, Career, Family
Andrew Yang was born in suburban New York to Taiwanese immigrants. His parents were both highly educated, having met in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. Yang’s father went on to become a researcher at IBM, while his mother pursued a career as an artist.
Andrew Yang Bio: Early Life, Immigrant Family
As one of the only Asian students at his public school, Yang was often bullied for his ethnicity. “Perhaps as a result, I’ve always taken pride in relating to the underdog or little guy or gal,” Yang later wrote of his experience.
Andrew Yang Bio: Education
Yang attended Brown University where he studied economics and political science and then attended law school at Columbia University.
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Andrew Yang Bio: Career
After graduating from college, Yang bounced around from job to job. He initially worked at a law firm, and then moved on to launch a website geared towards celebrity philanthropy which he said “did not work out,” and then joined a healthcare software startup as its Vice President. After being employed in the healthcare industry for four years, Yang started working at Manhattan Prep, a tutoring company. He eventually became CEO, expanding the company from 5 to 69 locations over the course of a few years.
After Manhattan Prep was acquired by a larger company in 2009, Yang told uPolitics, “This was the recession, and things were going very poorly in the country so I left my job to start a non-profit called Venture For America that trained hundreds of entrepreneurs to help create thousands of jobs in cities like Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, Birmingham and other cities around the country.” Yang’s strategy was to take talented youth from across the nation and provide them with entrepreneurial education, as well as a two-year apprenticeship with promising startups in big cities. In 2017 Yang stepped down as CEO of Venture For America in order to run for president.
Andrew Yang Bio: Domestic Life
Yang lives in New York City with his wife Evelyn and their two sons. Yang has spoken about his older son being autistic, saying, “I’m very proud of my son and anyone who has someone on the spectrum in their family feels the exact same way.” Yang regularly attends the Reformed Church of New Paltz.
Andrew Yang Bio: 2020 Campaign
While Yang had no previous experience in politics, he had focused his campaign on economics, the field in which he is strongest. Yang’s economic focus was unique, however, in that he emphasized the danger that automation brings to the American workforce. In an exclusive interview with uPolitics, Yang stated, “The reason why Donald Trump won in 2016 is that we’ve automated away four million manufacturing jobs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, all swing states that Trump won. And unfortunately, my friends who work in silicon valley and technology know that what we did to the manufacturing workers we are now doing to the retail workers, call center workers, fast food workers, truck drivers, and on and on through the economy.” He continued by saying, “we’re now in the third inning of the greatest economic transformation in the history of the country and that’s why I’m running for president to help America evolve through what’s going to be a very very challenging time.”
Yang dropped out of the presidential race after finishing well-behind other candidates in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.
Andrew Yang Bio: 2021 New York City Mayoral Campaign
Yang announced his candidacy for New York City mayor in January 2021. Entering a crowded race with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Comptroller Scott Stringer, Yang took an early polling lead which maintained through the rest of the campaign cycle. Mirroring several of his most popular positions during his Presidential run, Yang ran on a platform of implementing a Basic Income of $2,000 annually for the 500,000 New Yorkers with the greatest need, opening a People’s Bank of NYC, offering more robust COVID-19 relief to small businesses, subsidizing broadband Internet, recruiting new teachers for the public school system, and reopening New York City schools.
A New York1/Ipsos poll from April 2021 found that 22% of New York City Democrats planning to vote in the upcoming primary listed Yang as their first choice. Eric Adams is the second most popular at 13%. New York City’s new rank-choice voting system benefits candidates who are selected as voters’ first choice the most, so Yang’s commanding lead proved even steeper when the same poll determined another 13% of voters considered Yang their second choice.
Although he was a frontrunner early in the race, Yang conceded in June 2021 based on poor poll numbers.
Andrew Yang Bio: Forward Party
Following his run for Mayor of New York City in 2021, Yang felt frustrated with the Democrats and disapproved of the Republicans. In light of this, he founded a third political party called the Forward Party.
Co-chaired by Republicans Christine Todd Whitman and David Jolly, the Forward Party is moving “Not left. Not right. Forward.” It is geared towards those who oppose extremist ideologies and delivers a “strategy designed to empower local leaders to unlock policy solutions that work in their communities.
The Forward Party proposes voting reform, nonpartisan primaries and independent redistricting committees in an effort to “create a political home for everyone.”
The Forward Party will not be putting forth a candidate for the 2024 presidential election. Members believe that the party needs to expand and seize opportunities to establish itself, and thus a presidential bid would be distracting.
“I have a hope for a positive political movement that is not born of rage and demonization, but on optimism and solutions,” Yang wrote in a letter on the Forward Party’s website. “This is an inclusive movement… Forward is positive and practical. We believe in people of every political alignment that want to help the country.”
Andrew Yang Bio: Political Views
- Yang supports Medicare-for-All, which is a form of single-payer health care where everyone has public health care instead of private insurance
Healthcare should be a basic right for all Americans. pic.twitter.com/mkS83MYMf1
— Andrew Yang?⬆️?? (@AndrewYang) June 15, 2019
- As Yang himself is the child of immigrants, he appreciates the value that they can bring and supports many pro-immigrant policies such as smoothing the path to citizenship
- One of Yang’s many unique ideas involves attempting to recruit foreign students studying at American universities to stay in the country post-graduation by allowing them easy citizenship
- While he is pro-immigrant, Yang also recognizes the importance of having tighter border control and preventing a massive influx of illegal immigrants
- Yang supports using economics to fight climate change, including a tax on emissions and an end to tax benefits for fossil fuel companies
- He also advocates for additional funding towards technology that can reverse the effects of climate change
- Yang supports women having total reproduction freedom, and he thinks that they should be able to legislate for themselves
- One of Yang’s signature proposals is the creation of a universal basic income, where every adult citizen would receive $1,000 a month as what he calls a “freedom dividend”
- He also lists this as a way to reduce income inequality as it would benefit “those with the least, the most”
- Yang consistently stresses the danger that artificial intelligence poses to the American economy, emphasizing the importance of creating new jobs for those who would be displaced by automation
- The entrepreneur also advocates for returning to “more progressive” tax rates in order to stop giving more money to those who already have so much
Self-driving trucks are coming. In many ways they will be a good thing— reducing costs, accidents, traffic, and carbon emissions— but they will displace hundreds of thousands of American workers. We must do all we can to help and prepare the country. pic.twitter.com/vfXjQZPyOg
— Andrew Yang?⬆️?? (@AndrewYang) June 12, 2019
The biggest misconception about the #FreedomDividend is that it will reduce work. The influx of cash will stimulate local businesses, creating thousands of jobs in our communities. It will also recognize work that is currently valued at zero – like parenting and caregiving. pic.twitter.com/1cxAFPNfum
— Andrew Yang?⬆️?? (@AndrewYang) June 11, 2019
- Yang supports reducing foreign military involvement as it detracts from funds that could be spent domestically and frequently hurts the United States’ global image
- Yang has an 8-step program for reducing gun violence, including, among other things:
- Fining gun manufacturers every time their weapon is used in a shooting in order to put the impetus on gun makers to produce safer weapons
- Funding research into signature guns that can only be fired by the owner
- Increasing background checks and preventing those with a history of mental illness or domestic abuse from purchasing weapons
- Putting money into mental health programs, school mindfulness programs, and suicide hotlines in order to help those with mental issues who may resort to violence against others or against themselves
- Invest in law enforcement de-escalation training to reduce shootings by police
- Yang supports impeaching Trump if he could be clearly convicted of breaking a law, but he also is wary of the negative effects that removing the president could have
- He would rather fix the problems that got Trump elected in the first place rather than focus on evicting him from the Oval Office, saying, “We need to actually have better ideas and better policies to improve people’s lives and not rely upon impeachment.”
Imprisoning a former President is the kind of thing that happens in developing countries – America should avoid falling into this pattern if at all possible. The focus should be on winning in 2020 and solving the problems that got Trump into office.
— Andrew Yang?⬆️?? (@AndrewYang) June 13, 2019
- Like many other 2020 candidates, Yang supports paying teachers more to reflect the importance of their job
- Additionally, Yang points out that 70-80% of primary school performance is based on out of school factors, and asserts that the additional $12-24,000 a year from his freedom dividend program would help reduce household stress and tension
- He also advocates for increased technical training in high school instead of labeling college as the end-all-be-all of education
- Yang wants to update high school curricula to include things like financial literacy, tech management, positive psychological thinking, and relationship management
- He would also create a domestic exchange program to send second-term seniors to other parts of the country to gain work experience and understand how the rest of the country lives
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