House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) got another primary challenger this week — 25-year-old former Andrew Yang campaign staffer and Harvard graduate Jonathan Herzog.
Herzog’s platform echoes that of his former boss. He is pushing for a $1,000 a month universal basic income (UBI) for those over 18, which he and Yang call the “Freedom Dividend.”
“I’m laser-focused on solving the problems on the ground for New Yorkers in the 10th District: in 2019, in the financial capital of the world, 1 in 6 people live in poverty and 1 in 5 storefronts are closing,” he said in an email interview with Breitbart News.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, and our way forward starts with the Freedom Dividend, $1,000 a month for every New Yorker over 18 in the 10th district, and every American adult,” he added.
He called Nadler a “patriot and a great public servant” in an interview earlier this week with The Hill and said he is not running for the purpose of unseating Nadler but to advance UBI.
Still, he has taken shots at career politicians, among whom Nadler — with 27 years in Congress — would qualify.
“Once I grasped the scale of the problems we face, and reckoned with the reality that no career politician was going to do much about it, I had to act,” Herzog said on his website.
He also told The Hill, “The question was, how can we…as quickly as possible pass meaningful solutions to the fact that we’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and none of our leading elected officials are addressing that.”
And when asked if he was inspired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) win against powerful incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), he said, “Certainly the past cycle showed what was possible, and we see the great hunger for real solutions from non-politicians running to improve the lives of folks in their home districts.”
Herzog is now the fourth Democrat running to take on the more than two-decade incumbent. Also running against Nadler is Amanda Pearl Frankel, Holly Lynch, and Lindsey Boylan. Herzog would be the first openly gay person to hold the seat if he wins.
He said is not just running to advance UBI, but to win. “We’re running to win! Our path in my home district is clear as day,” he said.
He plans to press Nadler and the other candidates to put forth plans to address automation.
“Hopefully the Congressman and all campaigns will put forth plans to meaningfully address the fact that we’re automating away the most common jobs in our economy, scapegoating immigrants for problems caused by technology, and going through the greatest economic shift in our history, what experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, he has expressed support for Amazon bringing jobs to New York.
Pressed on Fox News’s Ingraham Angle on whether he wanted to see the giant tech company come to New York, he said, “Yes, it is good to have job growth and opportunity here in the state.”
Herzog also supports Medicare for All, and would give New Yorkers $100 vouchers to support the candidates of their choice to drown out big money in politics.
According to his website, Herzog was was born and raised with his two sisters on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Israel in the 1990s.
He graduated first in his class from Harvard University and completed an MBA at New York University. He said halfway through law school he was inspired by Yang, a “then-unknown entrepreneur and presidential candidate [who] made it to the national debate stage.”
“It was such an honor to build Yang’s Iowa campaign operation. After the campaign took off and the #YangGang caught fire, the question came up over and over again: how do we get the Humanity First platform through Congress? This is my answer,” he said.
He said after campaigning for Yang in Iowa and discussing UBI and hearing the question “How are we going to get Congress to pass this agenda,” he decided to run.
“Together, we can end poverty, bring healthcare to all, and rebuild our democracy,” he writes.