Contact Committee hosts Andrew Yang

The news of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation broke during Yang’s talk

Jin Ni

Over 300 Washington and Lee community members tuned into Andrew Yang’s 7 p.m. talk on Oct. 27.

Yang spoke just a week after former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Contact Committee Chair Donald LeCompte, ‘21, said Yang was invited in part because of his unique ideas on how to address the country’s problems.

“Our goal with the political series was to bring notable speakers who have been actively involved in presidential campaigning,” LeCompte said.

Yang has been bringing that wealth of experiences into his post-presidential-campaign life.

“My entrepreneurship experience informs everything I do. It influenced how I ran, and it influences even what I do now,” Yang said.

He said his life after the campaign has been defined by the pandemic.

“I’ve been looking for ways to help out, because our government isn’t doing it,” he said.

Yang said he’s helped distribute $1 million in economic relief through his non-profit, Humanity Forward.

The pandemic was a recurring subject of conversation. Questions arose about economic relief during the pandemic and Universal Basic Income, an idea that gave Yang popularity on the campaign trail in 2019.

“I’m surprised our government hasn’t passed a second relief bill after April,” he said. That’s unconscionable for a developed country. We have the resources and there are millions of Americans displaced by the pandemic-fueled recession.”

Yang exhibited the traits that made him popular on the campaign trail: his candor, easy-going nature and expertise with numbers and business.

“I thought he was really engaging and a funny speaker, even for a virtual event, and I thought his policy ideas were really interesting,” said Contact Committee member Lilly Gillespie, ‘22.

LeCompte agreed.

“Andrew made a big splash on the national stage this year,” he said.

About an hour into Yang’s talk, news broke about Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to become a Justice.

Yang reacted right away. He said lifetime appointments don’t make sense anymore.

“In what modern society does it make sense to plan for 30 years for now?” Yang said. “The Supreme Court is also becoming more and more important because Congress can’t get its act together.”

But Yang also encouraged students not to lose faith.

“I’m sorry that we have all left your generation such a mess,” Yang said. “But I know that I am in a privileged group of people that can probably do something about it.”

Yang said he may not run for president again, but he hopes to help Biden and Harris win.