By Barbara Yau, AsAmNews Staff Writer
Early voting in the New York City (NYC) primary elections is underway and will culminate in Primary Day in a little over a week on June 22nd. Former 2020 US Presidential Contender Andrew Yang was an early frontrunner to become the NYC mayoral nominee for the Democratic Party, but his support seems to be slipping based on several recent polls.
Yang is the first Asian American man to compete for the Democratic mayoral nomination in NYC, and if he wins the upcoming primary and the election in November, he would become the city’s first Asian American and second non-White mayor. While some feel this would be a welcome step forward for Asian Americans, especially in light of the Stop Asian Hate movement, it is unclear whether Yang will garner enough support from Asian Americans who account for 14.1% of NYC’s population, as per U.S. census data. Several Asian Americans leaders, such as Congresswoman Grace Meng and New York State Senator John C. Liu, have endorsed Yang, but Asian Americans continue to hold a wide range of opinions about Yang in his quest to lead the city into the post-pandemic era. AsAmNews recently asked several New Yorkers to share their thoughts about Yang, and here is what they expressed:
John Tabaniag (Political Leanings – “Progressive/Democrat”)
John: “I support Andrew Yang because he is pragmatic and compassionate. His main goal is to solve problems that negatively impact our way of life, and is willing to work with anyone to advance the solutions. He is an outsider to politics, but honesty I don’t care. There are many ‘experienced’ politicians that I consider to be terrible. Mitch McConnell is an example of someone who has a great deal of experience, but has terrible priorities and makes bad decisions.”
Pervez Siddiqui (Political Leanings – “Centrist Democrat, Progressive not Socialist”)
“I am not supporting Andrew Yang. I was part of a 10 organization coalition that interviewed all the candidates, and he did not do well on the interview. I was representing a Muslim coalition, and he was not able to connect or have an understanding of our issues. The Muslim community feels that he must condemn human rights violations wherever they are, especially the civilian bombing of Gaza resulting the loss of life of women and children by Israeli forces. His condemnation of Hamas with no condemnation of Israel bombing was one sided and for political gains. The attack on worshippers at Al Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest site of Muslims, was unwarranted and was not condemned.”
Mary Bow (Political Leanings – “Unwavering Democratic voter since age 18”)
Mary: “I like Andrew Yang because he’s a young dad, smart, successful, and determined to make a difference. I’m impressed that he took the initiative to go for President and, with his then $1000 per voter candidacy promise, initiated the stimulus check concept. I like that his family has roots in New York and wants to take on the crazy but admirable task of managing the city. I didn’t grow up with too many Asian role models or elected officials, and Andrew Yang represents the current voice and need for diversity that I’d like to see in power. Grace Meng’s endorsement also has real meaning for me.”
Judi Cheng (Political Leanings – “American Socialist”)
Judi: “I do not support Andrew Yang for mayor. His universal basic income wouldn’t have gone far enough. He has no objections to greedy CEO’s profit motives, which have been deadly for working and poor people. He carelessly tweeted support for Israel during a relentless bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip. His plan to increase funding for the police is wrong, given the history of policing in the US. More police won’t make us safer. Denouncing politicians’ anti-China rhetoric will.”
Robert T. (Political Leanings – “Republican, not as far right leaning as most”)
Robert: “I would not vote for Andrew Yang. I believe he is out of touch with issues that New York City face daily. He has broad outlines for policy changes, but I don’t see how they can be implemented without alienating a large block of voters. I don’t see him handling big union negotiations well. One example would be the teachers’ union where he flip-flopped his stance when confronted on a statement he made. This either portrays weakness where he was bullied into changing his stance, or he wasn’t well informed or educated in policies before he made his statement.”
Dom Wong (Political Leanings – “Moderate Democrat”)
Dom: “When I first realized that a fellow Asian American was running for New York City Mayor, I was extremely proud and optimistic. With the rise of anti-Asian hate and violence, we need someone who will hear and understand the struggles. Yang is ready to help New Yorkers reopen businesses, get people back to their offices, and willing to work with big business to make it happen. He understands the need to cut taxes and push his Universal Basic Income policy. However, I disagree with his stance on advocating for more charter schools. We need to enhance the largest public school system, which currently teaches 1.1 million children in New York City. He should work with the United Federation of Teachers Unions rather than against them. I am sometimes skeptical when he speaks freely before considering the ramification of his words. We need a mayor who thinks before they speak.”
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