NEW YORK — Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang on Jan. 14 announced his candidacy for mayor of New York City.
After Joe Biden won the presidential election, there was speculation that Yang, who became a CNN commentator, would be appointed to a position in the new administration. He campaigned in Georgia for candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose victory gave Democrats control of the Senate.
The first Asian American candidate for New York City mayor was John Liu, former city comptroller and current state senator, who ran unsuccessfully in 2013. Both Liu and Yang are sons of Taiwanese immigrants.
The city’s only non-white mayor was David Dinkins, an African American, who served from 1990 to 1993.
Yang issued the following statement about his reasons for running:
“I moved to Manhattan when I was 21 years old, right after college. I remember driving in my parents’ Honda Accord full of belongings to my first apartment, which I shared with a roommate. The city felt enormous, but arriving here felt like a victory.
“I went to my friends’ shows. I was at the Garden for Larry Johnson’s 4-point play. I watched the towers fall, and was part of the crowd that silently walked uptown away from the smoke.
“I came of age, fell in love, and became a father here. My wife, Evelyn, is from Queens; we went on our first date at Amy’s Bread on 9th Avenue. Both my sons were born at St. Luke’s Hospital. I used to bike them to school on the West Side Highway, but they’ve been on Zoom lately.
“I started a small business that failed, but the energy of this city kept me going. Eventually, I became CEO at an education company in Koreatown, and we grew it to be among the largest in the country. I started a nonprofit here called Venture for America, which helps young people build small businesses across the nation, particularly in struggling cities.
“President Obama named me a Champion of Change and an Ambassador of Entrepreneurship. When I ran for president, I set our offices here, and recruited our team from all five boroughs. It was here we built an anti-poverty movement.
“Whatever I aspired to and whatever I accomplished, it was because of New York City. Seeing New York the way it is now hurts my heart. The thought that I might be able to contribute to my city’s revival is both an incredible responsibility and opportunity. What we do in the months ahead will determine our city’s trajectory for decades to come.
“That’s why I’m running for mayor. I want to serve my community in this time of need and bring bold, innovative solutions to the table. I want to lead us forward as we rise above our current politics. I want to see every last New Yorker thrive in our city.
“We will run the largest basic income program in U.S. history and we will rebuild the economy and how the city is run so that it doesn’t simply restore the status quo, but creates a city that works for all New Yorkers.
“This will be a spirited race. But if we put forward a positive vision — that we understand the problems people face and that we are here to help — we will win. Most importantly, we will rebuild and restore the city we love – not as it was, but how it deserves to be.
“The Democratic primary is June 22, 2021. I can’t wait for you to join us on our campaign to revive our city, our home.”
Yang’s website (www.yangforny.com) includes detailed policy proposals in such areas as COVID recovery, criminal justice, housing, cash relief, education, public health, the environment, and transportation.
At a kick-off rally in Upper Manhattan, Yang introduced newly elected Rep. Ritchie Torres as a co-chair on his campaign. Other endorsers include Martin Luther King III (who announced his endorsement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day), Assemblymember Ron Kim of Queens, and actor Daniel Dae Kim.
The winner will succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio. According to CNN, other candidates include Shaun Donovan, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development; Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and former New York Police Department captain; Ray McGuire, former Citigroup executive; Scott Stringer, New York City comptroller; and Maya Wiley, former counsel to de Blasio.