Andrew Yang endorses Stephen Lynch’s primary challenger

"If we had more doctors in Congress, our policies would reflect science and facts."

Robbie Goldstein
Robbie Goldstein. –Handout

Andrew Yang may have suspended his White House bid before the Massachusetts presidential primary, but he’s now wading into one of the state’s congressional primary races.

The former Democratic presidential candidate and his political group, Humanity Forward, announced Friday morning that they are endorsing Dr. Robbie Goldstein, the only remaining primary challenger running against Rep. Stephen Lynch in the 8th District primary race.

Lynch, a moderate South Boston Democrat, has been in Congress since 2001. His two other progressive primary challengers, Brianna Wu and Mohammad Dar, suspended their campaigns earlier this spring.

Yang said that Goldstein, who currently works as a primary care doctor and an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, is “precisely the kind of leader we need today.”

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“He’s an infectious disease specialist with a PhD!” Yang exclaimed in a statement. “If we had more doctors in Congress, our policies would reflect science and facts.”

(According to a recent New York Times count, there are currently 17 doctors in the House and Senate, most of whom are Republicans.)

Goldstein, who is challenging Lynch from the left, says he would fight for the “structural reform” that Yang “mainstreamed” during his presidential campaign. In a questionnaire, Goldstein affirmed his support for a raft of Humanity Forward policy objectives, including some form of the universal basic income proposal championed by Yang — at least in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I support a data-driven approach to ensuring everyone in this country has the resources needed in a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” Goldstein wrote. “This includes a universal basic income during the current economic crisis and a continued fight to ensure progressive policies (like student loan debt forgiveness, paid sick and family leave, and reform in housing policy) are enacted for the long term, and not just limited to the current pandemic.”

Some elected Democrats have also proposed monthly relief payments to most Americans during the crisis, similar to Yang’s proposal to send $1,000 a month to every adult as a permanent support measure.

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In the questionnaire, Goldstein also called for “strengthening the social safety net” to ensure universal health care, affordable college, more affordable housing, and food security for all Americans, as well as electoral reforms, including mail-in voting in all 50 states, “Democracy Dollars,” and a new executive “Department of Technology.”

In a statement, the Boston resident said he hopes “to make the ‘Yang Gang’ proud.”

“I’m humbled, and truly grateful to receive this endorsement from Mr. Yang and Humanity Forward,” he said. “His 2020 presidential campaign reflected many of the same values that are central to my own campaign, including healthcare for all, an economic transformation that doesn’t leave working families behind, and providing cash relief so people can live with dignity and respect.”

Yang  — whose campaign outlasted the bids of senators and governors, but ended after the New Hampshire primary — is by far the highest profile supporter of Goldstein’s campaign, which has also been endorsed by state Rep. Nika Elugardo, Progressive Massachusetts, and Dar.

“Robbie’s patients have to make impossible choices,” Yang said. “Do they take their prescription drugs or put food on the table? Do they get a full day’s pay or go to the doctor? No one should be faced with these choices. That’s why Robbie’s running for Congress. It’s also why I’m supporting him. Robbie for change!”

The primary is scheduled for Sept. 1.

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