Reuters/Kyle Grillot, Reuters/Mark Blinch
Comedian Dave Chappelle was in Iowa on Tuesday campaigning on behalf of tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate.
Chappelle weighed in on why he recently endorsed Yang, saying he believed his plan for a universal basic income would help lift his community in Dayton, Ohio out of poverty.
Yang’s plan for a Freedom Dividend has garnered encouragement from some of the Democrats running for president.
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The comedian and actor Dave Chappelle recently endorsed Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, for president. Now Chappelle is in Iowa campaigningÂ on his behalf ahead of the state’s competitive Democratic caucus on Feb. 3.
On Tuesday, Chappelle dug into some of the reasons he endorsed Yang, an underdog candidate who’s centered much of his candidacy on confronting the peril of automation, before taking the stage at a comedy show benefit ting Yang at Iowa State University. The comments were first reported by Iowa Starting Line.
“You take a poll in Dayton and say what would you rather have, $12,000 a year or health insurance? Everyone’s taking the money,” Chappelle, who lives near the Ohio city, said. “Health insurance is great, but groceries are necessary too.”
He went on: “People in Dayton are having a hard time getting the things they need. I started imagining what a universal basic income would do for my community, and it would save it almost instantly.”
Chappelle noted that one out of three Dayton residents now live below the poverty line and its currently dealing with gun violence and the fallout of the opioid crisis.
And he believes that Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” proposal whichÂ would guarantee payments of $1,000 a month – or $12,000 a year – to every US citizen over 18 years old with no strings attached.
“I like the idea of giving people choices, putting money in their hands and giving them the choice, Chappelle said. “They would consider things that aren’t even an option to consider now.”
Read more: Everything you need to know about the Iowa caucuses, and why they may be less important than ever in 2020
The comedian also said he recognized the “immense” gap in wealth between him and his neighbors, calling it “heartbreaking” and wanted to advocate for a policy that would cut it.
Reducing wealth inequality is a core concern among many of the Democrats running for president, and many have put forward plans to ramp up taxes on the very wealthy and corporations.
Yang’s plan for a Freedom Dividend, though, is the only one in the field proposing to put money directly into everyone’s hands, and its garnered encouragement from some of them.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren signaled she was open to it last year, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called it “a good idea” at a Democratic debate, but both stopped short of fully endorsing it.
A collection of polls gathered by RealClearPolitics shows Yang with an average 3.4% support in Iowa, trailing other candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Warren by double digits.