Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has established himself as an “outsider” candidate, and he was the only non-politician to qualify for the third Democratic debate last week.
Days after the debate, he made headlines when he defended comedian Shane Gillis, who lost a job at “Saturday Night Live” after racist comments about Asian-Americans became public. Yang, 44, was the target of one of Gillis’ remarks, but he said he didn’t think Gillis should be fired over the comments and invited him to sit down for a conversation.
Scroll down to learn more about the presidential candidate.
He was born in upstate New York
Yang, whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants, was born in Schenectady, near Albany, and he has one brother.
He went to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and later attended Brown University and Columbia Law School. He now lives in midtown with his family, according to reports.
He is married and has two sons
Yang has talked about his wife, Evelyn, and their two sons, one of whom has autism, when explaining changes he wants to make in the country.
“I like to talk about my wife, who is at home with our two boys right now, one of whom is autistic,” he said at the Democratic debate on July 31. “What is her work count at in today’s economy? Zero. And we know that’s the opposite of the truth. We know that her work is amongst the most challenging and vital.”
He also has made funding autism intervention part of his platform.
“One of my boys is on the autism spectrum — I know how invaluable resources and intervention can be, particularly if adopted early on,” he says in a statement on his website. “Families struggle with this in very personal ways. As a country, we should provide ample resources to parents to be able to intervene to support the development of children with autism or who are exceptional in other ways. These children have something unique to offer.”
He is an entrepreneur
After briefly working as a corporate lawyer, Yang started a celebrity philanthropic fundraising site that failed a few years later.
He then worked for multiple startups, including a health care software company. Later, he was the CEO of a Manhattan test-prep company, which was bought by Kaplan in 2009. After that sale, Yang founded the nonprofit Venture for America, a fellowship program for recent college graduates interested in entrepreneurship.
He wants to implement a universal basic income
Yang has focused his campaign on the threat of automation on American jobs. “New technologies — robots, software, artificial intelligence — have already destroyed more than 4 million U.S. jobs, and in the next 5-10 years, they will eliminate millions more,” he says in a statement on his website. “A third of all American workers are at risk of permanent unemployment. And this time, the jobs will not come back.”
Yang’s solution to this problem is to give a “universal basic income” of $1,000 per month to every adult in the United States. It would be funded by a tax on companies that benefit from automation, Yang has said.
He says the country needs to ‘think harder’
One of Yang’s campaign slogans is “The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math,” and he has said “math” is an acronym for “Make America Think Harder.”
Yang has been seen wearing “MATH” hats, which are also being sold by his campaign. “The ‘MATH’ hat is an essential item for any true Andrew Yang supporter,” it says on his website. “Celebrating numbers and facts is an essential part of our campaign.”
He is the godfather of Theodore Roosevelt’s great-great-granddaughter
When asked by The New York Times if he has a political hero, Yang said he is “a big fan” of Theodore Roosevelt, and he shared that he is the godfather of the former president’s great-great-granddaughter.