Yang joins race for mayor of NYC


Gage Skidmore

Andrew Yang emerged on to the political stage during the Democratic primaries in 2019. He continues to run on the platform of Universal Basic Income and hopes to restore the New York City after COVID-19 shut down businesses and deterred residents.

Kira Ratan, Features Lead Editor

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang may have come out of the 2020 election empty-handed, but he’s not quitting the rat race any time soon. The former tech executive has decided to run for New York City Mayor. 

Yang, who built his presidential candidacy on his “freedom dividend,” plan for a Universal Basic Income policy, guaranteeing every American money from the government every month, first announced his mayoral candidacy on Jan. 13, 2021. His campaign website is already fully up and running, urging voters to cast their ballot for him in the Democratic primary on June 22, 2021.

In an official statement featured on the homepage of his website, Yang said, “I moved to New York City 25 years ago. I came of age, fell in love, and became a father here. Seeing our City the way it is now breaks my heart. What we do in the coming months will determine our city’s trajectory for decades. I am running for mayor because I see a crisis – and I believe I can help.” 

Some students in the Masters community have decided to support Andrew Yang’s bid for mayor, and a few have begun volunteering for his campaign. Junior Nate Meyer signed up for a volunteer training session right after he heard Yang had officially launched his campaign. He had initially supported him during the Presidential Democratic primaries, and took the opportunity to get involved. Now a social media volunteer co-running the account @genzforyang with another high school student, he said he is excited to continue supporting his cause and campaign for NYC mayor.

“I chose to support Yang for Mayor of NYC because I believe that his policies surrounding Universal Basic Income as well as his connections on a national level will serve New York City well,” Meyer said.

I chose to support Yang for Mayor of NYC because I believe that his policies surrounding Universal Basic Income as well as his connections on a national level will serve New York City well

— Nate Meyer '22

Other students have decided not to support Yang for various reasons. Junior Clyde Lederman, who has already been involved in local politics for several years, was initially interested in Yang, but is now “growing a little sour.” He believes that the city’s biggest problems, aside from the pandemic, are housing, education and police reform. He wants a candidate who can reimagine quantifiable solutions to the crises that face New York, and doesn’t believe Yang is that person right now.

“The current front runners don’t deviate enough from the current management, and we can’t have establishment candidates at a time like this,” Lederman said. “There is no sense that Yang is actually progressive and that his plans account for any of the serious issues within the city.”

Yang faces heavy competition in the primaries. Mayoral term limits bar incumbent Bill de Blasio from running for a third term, which has led to new candidates pouring into the race. According to New York Magazine, as of Jan. 4, thirty-four people have filed campaign paperwork to run for mayor of New York City. This includes experienced politicians like City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and political newcomers like Ray McGuire, a senior Black executive on Wall Street.

Although it has been said that Yang is currently the frontrunner in the race, many are skeptical of his message. He has spent the last several months down in Georgia campaigning for Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff  during the state’s runoff Senate elections, not in New York City. Many New Yorkers have expressed their belief that he doesn’t have the best interests of the city at heart. Yang has become known for his unorthodox campaign promises, having championed causes like responding to automation and a universal basic income during the presidential race. And while he has made a name for himself in the world of American politics in that respect, Yang has also been criticized for his relative inexperience in comparison to competitors like Stringer and Adams, having never held any sort of office, especially not in a city government. According to a New York Times article, despite being a resident of New York City for 25 years, a fact that he often brings up, Yang has never voted in the mayoral election. Additionally, in a new development, Yang just tested positive for COVID-19, on Feb. 2. 

Upper School Photography Teacher Rachel Langosch has lived in New York City for nearly her entire life. Since the pandemic started, she has seen the city change dramatically, from big businesses shutting down to hundreds of thousands of residents deserting the city for suburban life.

“The city has a certain sadness to it these days. Some days when I go for walks, I really enjoy the quiet solitude and other days I can feel the weight of the loss we have experienced. It’s like the energy of the city has quieted,” she said.

So, although busy with a full-time job and twin infants, Langosch said she has begun to pay closer attention to politics and watch the news more often in order to feel connected to her city. She believes it will take hard work for New York City to recover from the devastation of the pandemic, but with a strong mayor leading, it can be done.

“I know it will take a lot of work to rebuild and repair, but I am certain that New Yorkers will do the work. My hope is that our new mayor will be able to spearhead programs which will bring back our city’s vibrance,” Langosch said.