Pete Buttigieg’s Ambitious Campaign to Rebuild Trust in America’s Institutions

May 31, 2019 by TWN Staff
Presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the City Club of Chicago luncheon in Chicago on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Candidate: Pete Buttigieg

State of Residence: Indiana

Campaign Website:

Presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the City Club of Chicago luncheon in Chicago on Thursday, May 16, 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Short Bio: Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the chief executive of the City of South Bend. The city’s thirty-second mayor, he was sworn into office on January 1, 2012.

A Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard. He was born in South Bend and grew up in the Northwest Side and North Shore Triangle neighborhoods. He attended St. Joseph High School in South Bend.

Buttigieg is past president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus and the Northern Indiana Mayors Roundtable, and serves on the boards of the Truman National Security Project and the United States Conference of Mayors. In 2015 he received the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Harvard University Institute of Politics, and in 2016 he won the U.S. Department of Transportation Mayors’ Challenge Pedestrian and Bicycle Awards for the City’s work on Smart Streets.

Elected at the age of 29, Buttigieg has been profiled by The New York Times and was called “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of” by the Washington Post. An officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009-17, Buttigieg took a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan during a seven-month deployment in 2014, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work.

An active musician, Buttigieg plays piano and guitar, and has performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. He lives in the same neighborhood where he grew up and is restoring a formerly vacant home there. [Official Mayor Website]

Fun Fact: Pete Buttiegieg speaks multiple languages, including Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French. [Washington Post]

On the Issues

Health Care:

“Medicare for All Who Want It” as a pathway to Medicare for All.

Pete believes in universal health care. The health care system we have today is both unjust and inefficient. For the first time since World War I, life expectancy is falling. If you’re uninsured, you’re paying too much for health care. If you’re insured, you’re still paying too much. This burdens hard-working families, especially in communities of color, the most. Other developed countries provide universal coverage for less than what Americans currently pay — and with better results. The American people should not have to settle for less.

Pete supports achieving Medicare for All through a pathway that helps improve people’s lives along the way while allowing the economy to adjust. He calls this “Medicare for All Who Want It.” This plan makes a Medicare-type public option available on the exchange and invites people to buy into it: if corporate insurers don’t lower costs to deliver something dramatically better than what is available today, competition will create the glide path toward Medicare for All. [Official Website]


National affordable housing investment; protections for tenant rights

Families can’t be secure if the cost of housing means they can’t make ends meet, or if they live in fear of being evicted or losing their home. In an era of increasing inequality, tens of millions of Americans are now “housing insecure,” paying over 30% of their income to rent or housing costs. We must invest in affordable housing for working families, reform unnecessary land use rules that prevent affordable housing construction, and redress the history of housing discrimination against communities of color that has limited economic mobility and fueled the racial wealth gap. [Official Website]

Raise the minimum wage to $15 and strengthen overtime protections

For too long, the typical worker’s wages have not kept up with expenses like health care, housing, and education. Pete wants to make sure that workers who are giving their all to an employer are getting paid fairly in return. By raising the minimum wage to $15, we can start taking steps to make sure that the economy is working for all workers. Restoring Obama-era overtime regulations will protect over eight million workers when they put in extra time for their employers and ensure they get paid for those hours.

We must also have an honest conversation about how to solve the bigger issue of automation and economic disruption. As fewer and fewer people have a lifelong relationship with a single employer, training and job placement programs are critical. But so is what happens to someone’s identity. We need measures to bridge income and benefits when work is disrupted — and to create meaningful non-work opportunities for building identity and community. [Official Website]

Federal support for higher teacher pay, targeted to districts where it will bring the most benefit

We need to respect and value our teachers as the essential public servants that they are, and we need to compensate them accordingly. We need federal support for boosting teacher pay, and we need to begin by directing it to Title I schools — the schools with the most economic and racial inequity, and with the most students on free and reduced price lunch. [Official Website]

Major federal investment in clean water and wastewater infrastructure, transportation and mobility, rural broadband, and climate adaptation and resilience

Infrastructure is central to the well-being of communities and the ability of individuals and families to live, work, and thrive. Today, our infrastructure is crumbling, and communities of color are disproportionately hurt by decades of neglect in neighborhoods and by unhealthy water systems. Investments in infrastructure can unlock good jobs, drive economic growth, and most importantly, empower communities to better access recreation, work, and health — connecting people to opportunity and to one another. Pete believes in the need for a major federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure. [Official Website]

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