PLAISTOW — It was standing room only as over 250 people of all ages filled the Mary Nelson Meeting Room in the Plaistow Public Library Friday night to hear how Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang plans to improve the nation.
"People in New Hampshire are like 'I don't know about that Yang guy, I've only met him once,' " Yang stated to a suddenly roaring crowd. "The plan was not to run for president, and I can prove that though my fashion choices."
The Phillips Exeter Academy grad attended Brown University where he studied economics before heading to law school where he became an "unhappy corporate attorney for a whole five months."
Yang then started his own business before leaving to work for a technology company, later becoming the head of an educational company.
"I'm here with you today as one of only two candidates in the race that 10% or more of Donald Trump voters said they would support," Yang said. "That means if I'm your nominee, we're going to win the whole thing."
The comedic Yang addressed the overflow crowd — many of whom wore hats with Yang's slogan "Make America Think Harder," or MATH for short.
Yang discussed several topics, including retail stores closing because of Amazon, artificial intelligence functions replacing call center workers, truck drivers being threatened by self-driving trucks, immigrants, and American life expectancy declining over the past three years.
"I just like him," Plaistow resident Shawn Mazza, 35, said after Yang's speech, noting he 'absolutely' made an impression on him. "I think he's the only genuine person running for president."
During his speech, Yang highlighted the "Freedom Dividend" that would give every American citizen $1,000 a month, totaling $12,000 a year.
He noted the money could go towards tuition, rent, student loans, healthcare, car repairs, and more. Yang feels that most of the money would stay in the community, creating 10,000 jobs in New Hampshire.
"This is the vision we can take on to the rest of the country that would catch on like wildfire," Yang said.
After his speech, Yang took questions ranging from how he would protect citizens from rising rents when the Freedom Dividend comes out to his stance on immigration.
Recent high school grad Sam Hall 19, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts asked Yang about his views of standardized testing, noting "I think it's pretty awful."
"Those tests do not measure anything except the ability to fill out bubble cards," Yang said. He explained that the SAT was designed to keep intelligent people off of the front lines during World War II. "And right now we are punishing so many of our young people...it's such nonsense."
Yang exited to cheers from the crowd chanting "Andrew Yang! Andrew Yang! Andrew Yang!" but stuck around to take pictures.
Atkinson Democratic Committee member Sam Butler, 65, said he would pay money to see Yang participate in stand up comedy.
"He's very charismatic," Butler said, noting Yang has addressed much of the things that need to be. "Incredible charismatic. The most charismatic of anybody I've seen so far."