1-on-1 with Andrew Yang: Where he stands on NYC's issues

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang gave his first one-on-one television interview since officially launching his campaign with Eyewitness News.

Yang spoke with CeFaan Kim on Thursday about some of the biggest issues the city is facing -- such as the NYPD, indoor dining and the city's teachers' union.

His critics will tell you the former presidential candidate faces hurdles on his path to City Hall, but name recognition isn't one of them.

Yang is the highest-profile candidate to toss his hat into this year's mayor's race.

He shared where he currently stands on a range of issues.

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Eyewitness News asked Yang where he stands on policing and who he would tap as NYPD commissioner.
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CeFaan Kim interviews Andrew Yang to find out where he stands on some of the biggest issues that New York City is facing amid the COVID pandemic.

"I think we need to follow the model of the federal government where we have a civilian police commissioner," Yang said.

Next up: Was Governor Cuomo right to shut down indoor dining again?

"I think that if there was a way to demonstrate a particular restaurant, like was not going to actually pose a hazard, I think it's something we should have considered," Yang said.

The next issue: How would Yang grade Mayor Bill de Blasio for shutting down schools, reopening them and then shutting them down again?

"We could've used firmer, clearer leadership around the schools and what the criteria were," Yang said. "It was frustrating for a lot of families? Does the UFT have too much power? Again I think everyone's goal is to have excellent schools for their kids, I think teachers do incredible work every single day and unions do incredible work."

Yang is also bringing his signature Universal Basic Income program to the race. That means up to $5,000, guaranteed by the government, into the hands of poor New Yorkers.

He also has some refreshing ideas like having the mayor control the MTA.

But at the outset of his announcement Thursday, he was on the defensive over the New York Times revelation that when COVID first hit the city in March, Yang and his family went to their second home upstate.

He told the Times, "Can you imagine trying to have two kids on virtual school in a two-bedroom apartment and then trying to do work yourself?"

In the Bronx on Thursday, he seemed to struggle with that question.

One of his top mayoral opponents, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams pounced and said "we deserve better than out-of-touch politicians."

"He will forever be known as the insensitive guy who talked about his wonderful house upstate while the rest of us were locked in our homes," political analyst Hank Sheinkopf said.

"I feel very deeply and painfully what every family in NYC has been going through over these last several months," Yang said.

Meanwhile, Yang says he isn't self-financing his campaign. He will accept donations and take part in the city's campaign-finance public matching fund program.

However, given his social media following, money doesn't appear to be a hurdle for him either.

Primary Day is only five months away.

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Lauren Glassberg has the latest on the vaccination sites in NYC and who is next in line for the shot.

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