Schenectady-native seeks to be first Asian-American president

January 07, 2019 01:25 PM

LATHAM - A Schenectady native is setting out to become the first Asian-American president.

Andrew Yang, 43, was in Latham on Sunday night.


Yang understands it will be an uphill fight. He recognizes the fact that most Americans wouldn't recognize him. That's why he's already out there on the campaign trail, to make sure people know him -- and to make sure they know what he intends to do for them.

Yang, an entrepreneur, has been to Iowa. He's been to New Hampshire. He's been to many places.

Sunday night, at the Sake Japanese Steak House in Latham, he was telling people in his hometown that he's staggered by how beleaguered most of the country feels.

"Many Americans have lost faith and confidence in their government and were willing to take a chance on Donald Trump," he explained.

Yang sees himself as the anti-Donald Trump. He's determined to become the first Asian-American president. To do that, he believes he needs to convince voters this country is in the midst of the greatest technological transformation it's ever seen -- that cars and trucks will soon be driving themselves, that shopping malls will soon be closing, and artificial intelligence is eliminating middle class jobs.

"So I'm running for president around that set of issues. I'm a serial entrepreneur who's worked in technology and business for two decades now and we need someone that understands what technology is doing to our economy -- which unfortunately most of our politicians do not," said Yang.

The centerpiece of Yang's campaign is something he calls the "Freedom Dividend." He intends to guarantee every adult American $1,000 a month, no strings attached.

"$1,000 a month free and clear to do whatever they want, to be able to retrain, move, find a new job, take care of their families and help build an economy that centers around us, people in Main Street America: a 'trickle-up' economy instead of a 'trickle-down' economy that's been proven not to work.

As for concerns some people may have over whether that could be a disincentive for people to work, Yang doesn't think so.

"Happily, most Americans want to work hard and putting a little bit of money in their pockets, what that does is it creates more opportunities for them to work," he said.

You might be wondering how Yang plans to pay for the $1,000 per person "Freedom Dividend." He says it would come from a new tax on companies that are benefiting most from automation. He believes that tax would generate as much as $800 billion in revenue.


Dan Levy

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