Meet Pete Buttigieg. He’s the millennial, Harvard and Oxford graduate, Afghanistan war veteran, openly gay Democratic 2020 presidential candidate that we should all have our eyes on. Otherwise known as Mayor Pete of South Bend, Indiana (because nobody in the country can seem to pronounce his last name correctly. It’s pronounced boot-edge-edge), Buttigieg has gained traction in the presidential race whose pool of candidates seemingly grows daily. And there are many reasons why we, as college students, should be excited about Buttigieg’s presidential candidacy.
Let’s start with the fact that Buttigieg is a millennial. He’s 37 right now, which would make him the youngest elected U.S. president, ever. America has yet to see a president so youthful, but Buttigieg is nowhere near inexperienced in politics. He was elected as South Bend’s mayor in 2011 when he was just 29 and is on his second and final term. As mayor, he established the “1000 homes in 1000 days” project, which aimed (and succeeded) to restore or destroy deteriorating homes in the community, transformed the streets of the city into more efficient ones with his “Smart Streets” initiative, prioritized the state of the city’s neighborhoods and scenery and much more to turn the city around. You can read further into his mayoral accomplishments here. The point is, he’s young and efficiently proactive in his politics, qualities I personally would love to see in a president. Also worth noting: President Obama named Buttigieg one of four Democrats who represented the future of the entire party, according to his candidacy website.
So, what exactly are Buttigieg’s policies and goals as a presidential candidate? He supports universal background checks and is a member of “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” a pro-gun control coalition. He wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, defends the abolishment of the electoral college and believes that climate change is a national security threat, backing the Green New Deal. He supports DACA and an initiative to make citizenship for young undocumented immigrants possible. He wants to pass the Equality Act to protect the LGBTQ+ community and disagrees with Trump’s transgender military ban, calling it, “disturbing.” The full list of his stances can be found here.
Representation matters. It is important for Americans to feel supported by, if not connected to their president. Buttigieg’s status as a veteran, having served as a U.S. Navy Reserve lieutenant and being deployed to Afghanistan for seven months, grants representation to other veterans in the country. He’s an openly gay man and extremely passionate about LGBTQ+ rights, providing representation to the community. His age and connection to America’s youth give a brand new perspective on the issues that face our country, one that would be representative of the younger generations. America could use a fresh and proactive leader, now more than ever.
Buttigieg’s resumé is nothing short of impressive, and I’m excited to see how he gains momentum in the race. As young voters, it’s important for us to find candidates that prioritize issues that face us now and will face us in the future. So far, Buttigieg has made it clear that his age plays a large role in this. He’s young, and he understands. Of course, you should do your research on the remaining candidates (and counting) as the election nears to be an educated voter. For now, I’m all for Pete.