Pete Buttigieg

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Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Buttigieg in June 2019

32nd Mayor of South Bend


Assumed office

January 1, 2012

Preceded by Steve Luecke

Personal details

Born Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg

January 19, 1982 (age 37)

South Bend, Indiana, U.S.

Political party Democratic

Spouse(s) Chasten Glezman (m. 2018)

Mother J. Anne Montgomery

Father Joseph Buttigieg

Education Harvard University (AB)

Pembroke College, Oxford (BA)



Government website

Campaign website

Military service

Allegiance United States

Branch/service United States Navy

Service years 2009–2017

Rank US Navy O3 infobox.svg Lieutenant

Unit United States Navy Reserve

Battles/wars War in Afghanistan

Pete Buttigieg by Gage Skidmore.jpg This article is part of a series about

Pete Buttigieg

2020 presidential campaign


Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

2011 election2015 re-election

Hitting Home PACShortest Way Home

Seal of South Bend, Indiana.jpg


Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg[1] ( /ˈbuːtɪdʒɪdʒ/ BOOT-ih-jij;[2][3] born January 19, 1982) is an American politician who has served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2012. He is a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election.

After graduating from Harvard University and then from Pembroke College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship, Buttigieg worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.[4] From 2009 to 2017, he served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve, attaining the rank of lieutenant and deploying to Afghanistan in 2014.[5][6]

Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 and reelected in 2015. Before his reelection, he publicly came out as gay. On April 14, 2019, Buttigieg announced his candidacy in the 2020 United States presidential election,[7] after having formed an exploratory committee in January 2019.[8][9] His platform includes support for reducing income inequality, pro-environmental policies, cooperation between the Democratic Party and organized labor, universal background checks for firearms purchases, the Equality Act, a public option for health insurance, and preserving the DACA program for children of illegal immigrants. Buttigieg also supports reforms that would end gerrymandering, overturn the Citizens United v. FEC decision, and abolish the Electoral College.[10][11]


1 Early life and career

1.1 Education

1.2 Professional career

1.3 Military career

1.4 State Treasurer election

2 Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

2.1 First term

2.2 Second term

3 2017 DNC Chair election

4 2020 presidential election

5 Political positions

5.1 Abortion

5.2 Climate change

5.3 Criminal justice

5.4 Economy and commerce

5.5 Elections

5.6 Foreign policy

5.7 Health care

5.8 Immigration

5.9 Judicial issues

5.10 Racial equality

5.11 Social issues

5.12 Statehood

5.13 Workers' rights

6 Personal life

7 Book

8 Electoral history

9 References

10 External links

Early life and career

Buttigieg was born in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Joseph and Jennifer Anne Buttigieg (née Montgomery).[12] His father, who was from Hamrun, Malta, had studied to be a Jesuit priest before emigrating to the United States and embarking on a secular career as a professor of literature at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend.[13] The surname Buttigieg is of Maltese origin.[14] His father was a professor at Notre Dame for 29 years.[15]


In 2000, Buttigieg was valedictorian of his senior class at St. Joseph High School in South Bend.[16] That year, he won first prize in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's Profiles in Courage essay contest. He traveled to Boston to accept the award and met Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family. The subject of his winning essay was the integrity and political courage of then U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of only two independent politicians in Congress.[17][18]

Buttigieg attended Harvard University, where he majored in history and literature.[19] He became president of the Student Advisory Committee of the Harvard Institute of Politics and worked on the institute's annual study of youth attitudes on politics.[20] He wrote his undergraduate thesis on the influence of puritanism on U.S. foreign policy as reflected in Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American.[21] The title of his thesis is also an allusion to American historian Perry Miller's work "Errand into the Wilderness."[22] There is currently only one copy of Buttigieg's 2004 thesis, "The quiet American's errand into the wilderness", stored in Harvard's library.[23]

Upon graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 2004, Buttigieg was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa [1] and awarded a Rhodes Scholarship; in 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with first-class honors in philosophy, politics, and economics after studying at Pembroke College, Oxford.[24] At Oxford, he served as an editor of the Oxford International Review.[25]

Professional career

Before graduating from college, Buttigieg worked as an investigative intern at WMAQ-TV, Chicago's NBC news affiliate.[26] He also interned for Democrat Jill Long Thompson during her unsuccessful 2002 congressional bid[27] and later became the research director for her 2008 gubernatorial campaign in Indiana.[28] In 2006, he lent assistance to Joe Donnelly's successful congressional campaign.[29] Buttigieg also co-founded the Democratic Renaissance Project,[25] an organization of young people committed to bringing new ideas to bear in public debates.[citation needed]

From 2004 to 2005, Buttigieg worked in Washington, D.C.[citation needed], as conference director of The Cohen Group,[30] a strategic consulting firm founded by former secretary of defense William Cohen.

For several months in Arizona and New Mexico,[31] Buttigieg worked on John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign as a policy consultant.[32] When he accepted the offer to work for Kerry's campaign, he declined another to work for Barack Obama's 2004 United States Senate campaign.[31]

After earning his Oxford degree, in 2007 Buttigieg became a consultant at the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company,[33][34] where he worked on energy, retail, economic development, and logistics for three years.[35] He quit his job at McKinsey in 2010 in order to focus full-time on his campaign for Indiana State Treasurer.[33]

Buttigieg has been involved with the Truman National Security Project since 2005[35] and serves as a Fellow with expertise in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[36] In 2014, he was named to the organization's Board of Advisors.[37]

Military career

In 2014, Buttigieg began his deployment at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

In 2007, while volunteering for Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Buttigieg joined the military; he said he was prompted to do so after witnessing the disparities between communities that had large amounts of youth missing due to military service and those that had barely any serving.[38]

Buttigieg became an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009 and began training to become a naval intelligence officer. In 2014, he took a seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan.[39] While there, Buttigieg was part of a unit assigned to identify and disrupt terrorist finance networks. Part of this was done at Bagram Air Base, but he also worked as an armed driver for his commander on more than 100 trips into Kabul. Buttigieg has jokingly referred to this role as "military Uber," because he had to watch out for ambushes and explosive devices along the roads and ensure the vehicle was guarded.[38] In order to better communicate with the local Afghans, he learned some Dari (a variety of the Persian language). Buttigieg was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal[40] and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award[41] and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2017.[42][43]

State Treasurer election

Buttigieg was the Democratic nominee for state treasurer of Indiana in 2010. He received 37.5% of the vote, losing to Republican incumbent Richard Mourdock.[44][45]

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

First term

Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in the November 2011 election, winning 10,991 of the 14,883 votes cast in that election--a margin of 74% to just 36% for the other two candidates.[46] He took office in January 2012 at age 29, becoming the second-youngest mayor in South Bend history—Schuyler Colfax III became mayor at age 28 in 1898[47]—and the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents.[46][48]

In 2011, Buttigieg supported John Broden in his successful bid to become St. Joseph County Democratic Party chairman.[49]

In 2012, after a federal investigation ruled that South Bend police had illegally recorded telephone calls of several officers, Buttigieg demoted police chief Darryl Boykins.[50] Buttigieg also dismissed the department's communications director, the one who had actually "discovered the recordings but continued to record the line at Boykins' command."[50] The police communications director alleged that the recordings captured four senior police officers making racist remarks and discussing illegal acts.[50][51] Boykins was replaced by two white police chiefs. The city is 26% black, but only 6% of the police force is black.[52]

Buttigieg has written that his "first serious mistake as mayor" came shortly after taking office in 2012, when he decided to ask for Boykins's resignation; the city's first ever African-American police chief promptly accepted the request but later sued the city for racial discrimination,[53] arguing that the taping policy had existed under previous police chiefs, who were white.[54] Buttigieg settled the suits brought by Boykins and the four officers out of court for over $800,000.[50][55] In 2015, a federal judge ruled that Boykins's recordings violated the Federal Wiretap Act.[51] Buttigieg came under pressure from political opponents to release the tapes, but said that doing so would be a violation of the Wiretap Act.[51] He called for the eradication of racial bias in the police force.[50] An Indiana court is hearing a case for the release of the tapes.[54]

As mayor, Buttigieg promoted the transformation of the former Studebaker plant location into a technology park named Ignition Park.[56]

Buttigieg was named mayor of the year in 2013 by, tying with third-term New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg.[57][58] In 2014, The Washington Post called Buttigieg "the most interesting mayor you've never heard of" based on his youth, education, and military background.[46]

One of Buttigieg's signature programs has been the "Vacant and Abandoned Properties Initiative"; known locally as "1,000 Properties in 1,000 Days," it is a project to repair or demolish blighted properties across South Bend.[59][60] The program reached its goal two months before its scheduled end date in November 2015.[61] By the thousandth day of the program, before Buttigieg's first term ended, nearly 40% of the targeted houses were repaired, and 679 were demolished or under contract for demolition.[62] Buttigieg took note of the fact that many homes within communities of color were the ones demolished, leading to early distrust between the city and these communities.[63] During Buttigieg's first term, infighting on the Common Council became a problem.[64] Former mayor of South Bend and former Indiana Governor Joe Kernan held a press conference in July 2014 alongside other civic leaders in which he harshly criticized the Common Council's conduct.[65][66]

Buttigieg served for seven months in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, returning to the United States on September 23, 2014.[67] While deployed, he was assigned to the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, a counterterrorism unit that targeted Taliban insurgency financing.[68] In his absence, Deputy Mayor Mark Neal, South Bend's city comptroller, served as executive from February 2014 until Buttigieg returned to his role as mayor in October 2014.[46][67][69]

As mayor, Buttigieg was a leading figure behind the creation of a nightly laser-light display along downtown South Bend's St. Joseph River trail as public art. The project cost $700,000, which was raised from private funds.[70] The "River Lights" installation was unveiled in May 2015 as part of the city's 150th anniversary celebrations.[50]

In 2015, during the controversy over Indiana Senate Bill 101—the original version of which was widely criticized for allowing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people—Buttigieg emerged as a leading opponent of the legislation. Before his reelection campaign, he came out as gay to express his solidarity with the LGBTQ community.[71][72]  

Second term

The South Bend 150th Anniversary festivities, where Buttigieg performed live with singer-songwriter Ben Folds

In 2014, Buttigieg announced that he would seek a second term.[73] He won the Democratic primary with 78% of the vote, defeating Henry Davis Jr., the city councilman from the Second District.[74] In November 2015, he was elected to his second term as mayor with over 80% of the vote, defeating Republican Kelly Jones by a margin of 8,515 to 2,074 votes.[75]

In a new phase of the Vacant and Abandoned Properties Initiative, South Bend partnered with the Notre Dame Clinical Law Center to provide free legal assistance to qualifying applicants wishing to acquire vacant lots and with local nonprofits to repair or construct homes and provide low-income home ownership assistance using South Bend HUD funds.[76] He increased city funding levels for home construction and improvement in the 2018 South Bend budget via several programs, including the UEA Pilot Home Repair Program, a grant intended to improve low-income residents' quality of life.[77]

In 2013, Buttigieg proposed a "Smart Streets" urban development program to improve South Bend's downtown area.[50] and in early 2015—after traffic studies and public hearings—he secured a bond issue for the program backed by tax increment financing[78][79] "Smart Streets" was aimed at improving economic development and urban vibrancy as well as road safety.[80] The project involved the conversion of one-way streets in downtown to two-way streets; traffic-calming measures; the widening of sidewalks; streetside beautification (including the planting of trees and installation of decorative brickwork); the addition of bike lanes;[79] and the introduction of roundabouts.[80] Elements of the project were finished in 2016,[50] and it was officially completed in 2017.[80] The project was credited with spurring private development in the city.[79]

Under Buttigieg, South Bend launched a $50 million investment in the city's parks, many of which had been neglected during the preceding decades[70], and began a "smart sewer" program, the first phase of which was finished in 2017 for a cost of $150 million.[81] The effort utilized federal funds[82] and has reduced the combined sewer overflow by 75%.[81] The impetus for the effort was that the EPA had fined the city in 2011 for violations of the Clean Water Act.[81]

In 2016, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni published a column praising Buttigieg's work as mayor with a headline asking if he might be "the first gay president."[83] Additionally, Barack Obama was cited as mentioning him as one of the Democratic Party's talents in a profile on the former president conducted by The New Yorker.[84]

While many aspects of the city had improved by 2016, a Princeton University study found that the rate of evictions in the city had worsened, more than doubling since Buttigieg took office.[81]

Ahead of the 2016 election cycle, Buttigieg declined to run in the United States Senate election in Indiana.[85] He later campaigned on behalf of Democratic Senate nominee Evan Bayh.[86] He criticized Bayh's opponent, Todd Young, for having voiced support in 2010 for retaining the military's Don't ask, don't tell policy, which Bayh had voted to repeal.[87] During the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Buttigieg endorsed Hillary Clinton.[88] He also endorsed Democratic nominee Lynn Coleman in that year's election for Indiana's 2nd congressional district, which includes South Bend.[89]

In 2017, it was announced that the long-abandoned Studebaker Building 84 (also known as "Ivy Tower") would have its exterior renovated with $3.5 million in Regional Cities funds from the state of Indiana and $3.5 million from South Bend tax increment financing, with plans for the building and other structures in its complex to serve as a technology hub.[90] This development is in the so-called "Renaissance District", which includes nearby Ignition Park.[91]

Beginning in August 2018, Buttigieg promoted the idea of moving the city's South Shore Line station from South Bend International Airport to the city's downtown.[92][93] He made it a goal to have the city complete this project by 2025.[94] Buttigieg ordered a study of five location options, including his personally preferred downtown option.[95] Of the five, the downtown location was found to be the priciest, but also the one with the greatest potential economic impact.[96] In December 2018, an engineering study was commissioned to further examine the cost of a downtown station.[94]

Also in 2018, Buttigieg explored annexing several areas bordering the city[97] and looked at redrawing the boundaries of several of the city's tax increment financing districts to better serve neighborhoods that had not benefited from redevelopment.[97]

For the 2018 midterms, Buttigieg founded the political action committee Hitting Home PAC.[98] That October, Buttigieg personally endorsed 21 congressional candidates.[99] He also later endorsed Mel Hall, Democratic nominee in the election for Indiana's 2nd congressional district.[100] Buttigieg also campaigned in support of Joe Donnelly's reelection campaign in the United States Senate election in Indiana.[101] In 2018 Buttigieg campaigned for candidates in more than a dozen states, including early presidential primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina, a move that political analysts argued indicated potential interest in running for president.[99]

In December 2018, Buttigieg announced that he would not seek a third term as mayor of South Bend.[102]

By 2019, the city had seen $374 million in private investment for mixed-use developments since Buttigieg had taken office.[103][104]

After a white South Bend police officer shot and killed Eric Logan, an African-American man, in June 2019, Buttigieg was drawn from his presidential campaign to focus on the emerging public reaction. Body cameras were not turned on during Logan's death.[105] On June 23, Buttigieg presided over a town hall attended by disaffected activists from the African-American community as well as relatives of the deceased man. The local police union accused Buttigieg of making decisions for political gain.[106][107]

In September 2019, the city of South Bend finalized a long-anticipated agreement with St. Joseph County to jointly fund the county's $18 million share of the project to double-track the South Shore Line.[93][108]

In late-October in was announced that the South Bend Mayor's Office would have new division, the Division of Community Initiatives. This is budgeted to be launched in 2020, when Buttigieg's successor will take office. Buttigieg was supportive of the creation of this department.[109]

In February 2019, Buttigieg endorsed James Mueller in the 2019 South Bend mayoral election.[110][111] Mueller was a high-school classmate of Buttigieg's and served as his mayoral chief of staff, and later as executive director of the South Bend Department of Community Investment.[110] Mueller's campaign promised to continue the progress that had been made under Buttigieg's mayoralty.[112] Buttigieg appeared in campaign ads for Mueller and donated to Mueller's campaign.[113] Mueller won the May 7 Democratic primary with 37% of the vote in a crowded field.[114][110][115] Mueller will face Republican Sean M. Haas in the November general election.[116]

2017 DNC Chair election

Howard Dean declaring his support for Buttigieg in the 2017 DNC chair election

In January 2017, Buttigieg announced his candidacy for chair of the Democratic National Committee in its 2017 chairmanship election.[117] He built a national profile as an emerging dark horse in the race for the chairmanship with the backing of former DNC chairman Howard Dean, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, Indiana senator Joe Donnelly, and North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp.[118][119] Buttigieg "campaigned on the idea that the aging Democratic Party needed to empower its millennial members."[118]

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and U.S. Representative Keith Ellison quickly emerged as the favored candidates of a majority of DNC members. Buttigieg withdrew from the race on the day of the election without endorsing a candidate, and Perez was elected chair after two rounds of voting.[118]

2020 presidential election

Main article: Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign

Further information: 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries

Buttigieg announcing his candidacy for President in 2020 on April 14, 2019

On January 23, 2019, Buttigieg announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 election.[8] Buttigieg is seeking the Democratic nomination.[120][5] If elected, he would be the youngest and the first openly gay American president.[8] Buttigieg officially launched his campaign on April 14, 2019, in South Bend.[9][121]

Buttigieg describes himself as a progressive and a supporter of democratic capitalism.[122] He favors universal healthcare with eventual retention of private insurance; dialogue and cooperation between the Democratic Party and organized labor; universal background checks for firearms purchases; and environmentalist policies to combat pollution and climate change, which Buttigieg views as a national security threat. He supports subsidizing solar panels and the Paris Agreement; after President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, Buttigieg was one of many U.S. mayors to sign the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, pledging that his city would continue to adhere to the agreement. Buttigieg is a supporter of the Equality Act, a bill extending federal non-discrimination protection to LGBT people. He opposes the Trump Administration's ban on transgender personnel in the military. Buttigieg favors the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program and federal legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for youths who had been brought into the country illegally as children.[122][123] He supports abortion rights.[124] Buttigieg identifies regulatory capture as a significant problem in American society.[122]

Political positions


Pete Buttigieg speaking at the 2019 California Democrats’ State Convention

Buttigieg is pro-choice[124][125] and supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortion services in all but the most extreme circumstances.[126] In 2018, as mayor, Buttigieg vetoed a South Bend Common Council rezoning decision that would have allowed a pro-life Women's Care Center to open next door to the abortion clinic, Whole Women's Health Alliance.[127] The Women's Care Center eventually found an alternative location in South Bend.[128] Even though the South Bend Common Council supported the rezoning exception, Buttigieg said, “I don’t think it would be responsible to situate two groups literally right next to each other ... that have diametrically opposed views on the most divisive social issue of our time.” He also expressed concern that such close proximity would conduce to the harassment of each side by the other.[129]

In May 2019, after the Alabama Legislature outlawed virtually all abortion services in the state by passing the Human Life Protection Act, Buttigieg said that it was "ignoring science, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women."[130]

Climate change

Buttigieg released a plan to combat climate change that rests on three pillars: building a clean economy through the creation of clean energy jobs; improving resilience by investing in disaster relief and prevention; and heightening the United States' role in the international fight against climate change.[131] His proposal sets benchmarks of doubling clean electricity in the U.S. by 2025, zero emissions in electricity generation by 2035, net-zero emissions from industrial vehicles by 2040, and net-zero emissions by 2050.[131]

Buttigieg has said that, if elected, he will restore the United States' commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and double its pledge to the Green Climate Fund. In June 2017, he was one of 407 U.S. mayors who signed a pact to adhere to the agreement after President Trump announced his decision to withdraw from it.[123] Buttigieg also supports the Green New Deal proposed by House Democrats.[132][133]

Buttigieg favors solar panel subsidies and a carbon tax and dividend policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[134][135]

Criminal justice

Buttigieg supports eliminating the death penalty.[136] He has also called for restoring voting rights to former felons and moving toward reversing criminal sentences for minor drug-related offenses.[137] He supports the "safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana."[138]

In 2019, Buttigieg said he was "troubled" by President Obama's decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Iraq War whistleblower, days before leaving office in 2017. Buttigieg also gave a mixed evaluation of Edward Snowden's disclosure of classified information, saying, "we've learned things about abuses and that one way or another that needed to come out" but that "the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information."[139]

On August 23, 2019, Buttigieg released a plan to decriminalize all drug possession;[140] decriminalization would make the possession of all drugs legal, with the sale of them remaining illegal. The plan states that this, in conjunction with diversionary programs to treat instead of incarcerate the addicted, should "decrease the number of people incarcerated due to mental illness or substance use by 75% in the first term."[141]

Economy and commerce

Buttigieg has frequently pointed to automation as the chief cause of the great loss of manufacturing jobs nationwide.[142] He has spoken of the need to work with labor unions.[143] As a self-proclaimed democratic capitalist, Buttigieg rejects crony capitalism and supports a constitutional amendment to protect democracy from the undue and corrupting influence of money in politics.[144] He is receptive to the possibility of antitrust actions against large technology companies but more focused on privacy and data security concerns.[145]

In 2010, Buttigieg praised the passage of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.[146]

While running for Indiana State Treasurer in 2010, Buttigieg described his record as fiscally conservative.[25]

While running for Indiana State Treasurer, Buttigieg supported the Community Reinvestment Act, proposing policies that would help Indiana enforce it by having the state deposit its money only in banks that complied with its obligations.[147][148]


Buttigieg favors the abolition of the Electoral College.[149] He has also said that he supports reinstating convicted felons' right to vote once they are released, but not before.[150]

Foreign policy

Buttigieg has said that he believes the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan was justified[145] but now supports withdrawing American troops from the region with a maintained intelligence presence.[123] Buttigieg is a committed supporter of Israel, breaking from the increasing trend in the Democratic Party to support Palestinians and the Palestinian cause,[151] but disapproves of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's zeal for building Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.[152]

In January 2019, following Juan Guaidó's self-declaration as interim president of Venezuela, Buttigieg told HuffPost that as a supporter of free and fair elections, he is amenable to potential sanctions but not a military intervention.[153] On June 11, 2019, Buttigieg said: "We will remain open to working with a regime like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of the American people. But we can no longer sell out our deepest values for the sake of fossil fuel access and lucrative business deals."[154]

Health care

Buttigieg has advocated for a single-payer healthcare system from the start of his campaign.[155] He has clarified that he would not immediately jump to single-payer from the current system, preferring to implement an all-payer rate setting as a glide path.[156]

In August 2019, Buttigieg released a $300 billion plan to expand mental health care services and fight addiction.[157][141]


Buttigieg supports Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and has drawn attention to the Trump administration's aggressive deportation policies. He defended a resident of Granger, Indiana, who was deported after living in the U.S. for 17 years despite regularly checking in with ICE and applying for a green card.[158]

Buttigieg has said that Trump has been reckless in sending American troops to the southern border and that it is a measure of last resort.[159]

Judicial issues

Buttigieg has said that he believes the Supreme Court needs structural reform, emphasizing depoliticization and suggesting that the court be expanded to 15 members, five of whom can only be seated by unanimous consensus of the other ten.[149]

Buttigieg supports the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.

Racial equality

Buttigieg at the NAACP 110th National Convention, discussing his Douglass Plan

In May 2019, Buttigieg warned that President Donald Trump and his administration were using white identity politics, which he identified as the most divisive form of identity politics.[160] In July 2019, he shared his Douglass Plan, named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, to address systemic racism in America.[161] Announcing it at a Chicago meeting of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH civil rights organization, Buttigieg compared the plan's scope to that of the U.S.'s Marshall Plan, which invested funds in war-torn Europe after World War II, and said it would address "opportunity for minority businesses, strengthening voting rights, and reforming the criminal justice system." The initiative allocates $10 billion to African-American entrepreneurship over five years, grants $25 billion to historically black colleges, legalizes marijuana, expunges records of drug convictions, halves the federal prison population, and passes a federal New Voting Rights Act designed to increase voting access.[162][161]

Social issues

Pete Buttigieg supporters marching in the 2019 Boston Pride Parade

Buttigieg favors amending civil rights legislation with the Federal Equality Act so that LGBT Americans receive federal non-discrimination protections.[163] He opposes the ban on transgender military participation enacted under Trump.[164][139]

He also supports expanding opportunities for national service and has said that he is open to making a yearlong term of national service voluntary for those turning 18 years old.[165] "One thing we could do ... would be to make it, if not legally obligatory, then certainly a social norm that anybody after they're 18 years old spends a year in national service", he said.[166] In July 2019 Buttigieg announced a plan to increase participation in national service organizations like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, as well as creating new ones dedicated to "fighting climate change, treating mental health and addiction, and providing caregiving for older people."[167] The initiative prioritizes volunteering in predominantly minority communities and rural areas by tripling programs to 250,000 people at first, then expanding to one million by 2026.[167]

Buttigieg opposes free college tuition because he believes that it unfairly subsidizes higher-income families at the expense of lower-income people who do not attend college. This position distinguishes him from other progressives who support free college tuition for all.[168] Buttigieg supports initiatives to make college more affordable.[169]


Buttigieg is an advocate for the statehood of Washington, D.C. He has also said that he would support Puerto Rican statehood "if they want it."[149]

Workers' rights

In July 2019, Buttigieg released a plan to strengthen union bargaining power, to raise the minimum wage to $15, and to offer national paid family leave.[170]

Personal life

The Cathedral of St. James, which Buttigieg attends

Buttigieg is a Christian,[171][172] and he has said his faith has had a strong influence in his life.[166][173][83] His parents baptized him in a Catholic church as an infant and he attended Catholic schools.[172] While at the University of Oxford, Buttigieg began to attend Christ Church Cathedral and said he felt "more-or-less Anglican" by the time he returned to South Bend.[172] St. Augustine, James Martin, and Garry Wills are among his religious influences.[173] A member of the Episcopal Church, Buttigieg is a congregant at the Cathedral of St. James in downtown South Bend.[166]

Buttigieg taught himself to speak a measure of Norwegian [174] and has some knowledge of Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari Persian, and French in addition to his native English,[24][175] though his level of fluency in those languages is unclear. His campaign has not commented on his language abilities, but he has been recorded speaking foreign languages on various occasions, including interviews on Univision on May 8, 2019 and Telemundo on May 20, 2019.[176][177][178] Buttigieg plays guitar and piano,[179][180] and in 2013 performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra as a guest piano soloist with Ben Folds.[181][182] Buttigieg was a 2014 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow.[183] He was a recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Fenn Award in 2015.[184]

Pete Buttigieg with his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, at a grassroots fundraising event in Austin, Texas

In a June 2015 piece in the South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg came out as gay.[71] By coming out, Buttigieg became Indiana's first openly gay elected executive.[185][186][187] He was the first elected official in Indiana to come out while in office,[188] and the highest elected official in Indiana to come out.[187] Buttigieg is also the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate, and the second overall, after Republican Fred Karger, who ran in 2012.[189]

In December 2017, Buttigieg announced his engagement to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher;[190] they had been dating since August 2015 after meeting on the dating app Hinge.[191][192] They were married on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James.[193][172] As of April 2019 Chasten uses his husband's surname, Buttigieg.[194]

In June 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an event widely considered a watershed moment in the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Queerty named him one of the Pride50 "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people."[195]


Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future. New York: Liveright. 2019. ISBN 9781631494376.

Electoral history

Indiana State Treasurer election, 2010[196]

Party Candidate Votes %

Republican Richard Mourdock (incumbent) 1,053,527 62.46%

Democratic Pete Buttigieg 633,243 37.54%

Total votes 1,686,770

South Bend mayoral election, 2011 Democratic primary[197]

Party Candidate Votes %

Democratic Pete Buttigieg 7,663 54.90%

Democratic Michael J. Hamann 2,798 20.05%

Democratic Ryan Dvorak 2,041 14.62%

Democratic Barrett Berry 1,424 10.20%

Democratic Felipe N. Merino 32 0.23%

Total votes 13,958

South Bend mayoral election, 2011[197]

Party Candidate Votes %

Democratic Pete Buttigieg 10,991 73.85%

Republican Norris W. Curry Jr. 2,884 19.38%

Libertarian Patrick M. Farrell 1,008 6.77%

Total votes 14,883

South Bend mayoral election, 2015 Democratic primary[198][199]

Party Candidate Votes %

Democratic Pete Buttigieg (incumbent) 8,369 77.68%

Democratic Henry L. Davis, Jr. 2,405 22.32%

Total votes 10,774

South Bend mayoral election, 2015[198]

Party Candidate Votes %

Democratic Pete Buttigieg (incumbent) 8,515 80.41%

Republican Kelly S. Jones 2,074 19.59%

Total votes 10,589