Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks about Universal Basic Income

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Andrew Yang is the Democratic Presidential candidate few people had heard of, until last month. Suddenly, his name is being searched as often as Joe Biden's and Bernie Sanders. So who is he?

Yang is in San Francisco Friday night and he stopped at ABC7 News for an exclusive interview with ABC7 news anchor Kristen Sze.

First, the personal. Yang is a 44-year old New York-born, Ivy League-educated entrepreneur who founded "Venture for America." But he has a Bay Area connection. His parents are immigrants from Taiwan who met at graduate school at UC Berkeley.

Yang is new to politics, but he's getting a lot of attention for his key proposal, the Universal Basic Income. He proposes giving every American adult $1,000 per month, no matter their income, guaranteeing Americans a $12,000 per year minimum income.

Yang tells ABC7, because technology and automation will eliminate jobs, he would implement a value-added tax on tech companies to pay for this social safety net.

Yang's other key proposals include: having every police officer in the U.S. wear a body camera, requiring colleges to pay their athletes, reducing student debt and providing medicare for all.

Though the newcomers' ideas are drawing growing crowds in Iowa and New Hampshire, it was his appearance on comedian Joe Rogan's podcast that boosted his visibility and popularity. He has surpassed 65,000 donors, the threshold for participants in the first two candidate debates. His Twitter following more than tripled, from 40,000 to 150,000.

He has a rally in San Francisco at Spark Social SF 6-8pm on Friday, March 15.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.