Former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang has officially launched his campaign for New York City mayor, pledging "bold ideas" and a "fresh approach" to revive the five boroughs amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A day after releasing a video on his 46th birthday announcing his bid to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2021, an exuberant Yang appeared before an applauding public Thursday to say he is the man who can help build the city back equitably.
"Hello New York City!" Yang said as he introduced his wife and two sons at the start of Thursday's announcement. He went on to recount his more than two decades of life living in the Big Apple and the visions he holds of propelling the economy and society forward at the same time.
"It is here in New York City that my passion for uplifting people, for wanting to move our country forward got started," Yang continued. "I am running for mayor for a very simple reason: I see a crisis and believe that I can help."
"The inhumane economy that we have all been struggling to survive in has become more punishing during the pandemic," he added. "New York City has become the front line for our nation's struggles. We need to break away from the politics of old, where we are fighting over who is to blame and who failed to deliver, when in reality the people have been losing and it is tearing our city apart."
"We need to rebuild New York not as it was but as it deserves to be -- and that is my pledge to you as mayor, a positive vision of New York City and a rational, progressive plan to implement it and make it a reality," he added.
Yang's mayoral bid is his first run for office since his presidential run. He sparked a huge following in those Democratic primaries with his call for such cash program -- $1,000 a month for every American over 18, no strings attached, funded by a tax on companies benefitting from automation.
"The fears for our future that caused me to run for president have accelerated since the pandemic started," Yang said Thursday, as he rattled off a series of jarring numbers. He said those don't even begin to capture how much harder hit Black and Latino communities have been by the coronavirus crisis.
Yang pledged to launch the largest basic income program in the history of the country if elected mayor of the city, giving families in need immediate relief -- and make New York City not only the "COVID comeback" city, but an anti-poverty one. He vowed to have a "people's bank" and pay city bills on time, all while helping small businesses devastated by the pandemic get back on their feet.
Yang also pledged to address recent sky high-crime rates and hold the NYPD accountable on matters of civil rights and other issues if elected mayor. Improved mass transit and more lanes for buses and bikes are also on his agenda.
Born in Schenectady, Yang moved to Manhattan when he was 21 and "never left," he said. He plans to hold his first campaign event on Thursday in Morningside Heights.
The Public Policy Polling survey released Monday was the second poll in recent weeks to show him with a lead over Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Yang would get 17 percent support in a Democratic primary, according to the PPP survey. That gives him a 1-point lead over Adams, with all other candidates at least 10 points back.
The field is far from set, though. Some 40 percent of voters said they weren't sure who they would support, and the poll also left out multiple declared or potential candidates, including Rep. Max Rose, who recently filed papers to explore a run.
NYC's primary election will be on June 22. As of Thursday morning, at least 37 people had filed paperwork with the finance board to run for mayor.