What You Need To Know: Pete Buttigieg

Who is Pete Buttigieg? Democratic mayor joins 2020 presidential race

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Update 6:30 p.m. EDT April 14: Buttigieg made the announcement before a standing-room-only crowd at a downtown tech hub that was once a Studebaker car factory.

The 37-year-old mayor touted improvements under his leadership, including a revitalized downtown and decreased unemployment, and said he’ll focus on three major issues in his campaign: security, improving democracy and freedom.   

Buttigieg described security as “the idea that security and patriotism belong to one political party needs to end now.”

He said democracy needs to work for everyone.

“No issue we care about, from gun safety to immigration, from climate to education to paid family leave, will be handled well unless our democracy is in better shape.”

And he explained how he’ll focus on freedom. 

“Our conservative friends care about freedom, but only make it part of the journey," he said. "They only see ‘freedom from,' freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation … as though government were the only thing that can make you unfree.

“But that’s not true. Your neighbor can make you unfree. Your cable company can make you unfree. There’s a lot more to your freedom than the size of your government.”

Original story: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Tuesday that he’s forming an exploratory committee ahead of a bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“Right now, our country needs a fresh start,” Buttigieg said in a video announcing his plan to run. “We can't just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future."


Here are some things to know about Buttigieg:

  • Buttigieg was born Jan. 19, 1982, in South Bend.
  • His name is pronounced “BOO'-tah-juhj,” according to The Associated Press.
  • Buttigieg studied philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford in England as a Rhodes scholar. He has a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University. From 2009 to 2017, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
  • Voters elected Buttigieg to serve as mayor of South Bend in 2011, making him the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents, the AP reported. In 2017, he ran unsuccessfully for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Buttigieg came out as gay in a 2015 column for the South Bend Tribune while he was running for his second term as the city’s mayor.
    “We Midwesterners are instinctively private to begin with, and I’m not used to viewing this as anyone else’s business,” he wrote in the column. “But it’s clear to me that at a moment like this, being more open about it could do some good. For a local student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will always have a place for her.”
  • Buttigieg describes himself as an “active musician” who plays piano and guitar. He has performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
  • Buttigieg married Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher at a Montessori Academy in Mishawaka, Indiana, in 2018, according to The New York Times.

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