A little more than a month out from Super Tuesday, Assemblyman Evan Low has been tapped as the national co-chair of Andrew Yang’s presidential campaign.
The District 28 Democratic rep joins the ranks of other Silicon Valley politicians who have taken on key leadership positions in the 2020 presidential election. Last month, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was named the California co-chair of Mike Bloomberg’s campaign and in early 2019, U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) stepped up as national co-chair for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
San Jose State political science professor Larry Gerston said it’s no surprise how Silicon Valley is playing such a prominent role on this year’s national political stage.
“These days [it’s] the economic juggernaut for the whole country when you think about the kind of things coming out of the valley,” he said in an interview with San Jose Inside. “They find it worthwhile to tap into the brains of political contacts and financial contacts of local officials. These people have great access to treasure troves financially.”
Yang’s platform in particular has unique resonance for Silicon Valley. Though his universal basic income idea gets more media play, the New York entrepreneur has done more than any of his challengers to elevate the conversation about the impact of automation on the American workforce.
Low’s announcement comes on the tails of him teasing a “new political adventure” on Twitter earlier this week. And on Tuesday night, with Yang notably absent from the Des Moines debate stage, Low took over the Democratic hopeful’s Twitter account and called on voters to help his colleague get into the next debate.
— Andrew Yang? (@AndrewYang) January 15, 2020
“Evan is a dynamic and proven leader in the great State of California,” Yang said in a statement. “Time and time again, he has demonstrated his commitment to representing diverse and dynamic voices and enacting policies that make our society more equitable.”
The pair have also frequently engaged on social media over the past year. In November, Yang even made a cameo in a video Low shared with his 11,000 Twitter followers about their shared affinity for math and boba.
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) November 8, 2019
Low told San Jose Inside that he’s endorsing Yang because, “there’s a lot of overlap on the issues we’re discussing in respect to the issues facing the younger generation.”
Low—who became the youngest openly gay Asian American mayor in 2009 when voters put hm at the helm of the city of Campbell—went on to found the California Legislative Technology and Innovation Caucus as a state lawmaker to address some of the same issues that concern Yang about the future of work.
In addition to the robots-are-stealing-your-jobs clarion call so foundational to Yang’s platform, one of those overlaps is a push to lower the voting age. Last year, Low proposed a bill in the California legislature that would knock the voting age from 18 down to 17. As a part of his platform, Yang wants to reduce the voting age even further to 16.
There’s another more pivotal reason that Low’s aligning himself with Yang—and it has nothing to do with policy.
“Growing up for me, I didn’t really have an Asian American hero that I could really relate to,” Low explained. “It wasn’t until high school when I was aware of [former U.S. Secretary of Transportation] Norm Mineta and [former Congressman] Mike Honda ... Within the realm of political and government, seeing someone like Andrew Yang on the national debate stage provides a great sense of pride.”
Low will make his first campaign appearance with Yang on Thursday in S.F. and plans to act as surrogate for the candidate in California and Nevada ahead of Super Tuesday.