Pete Buttigieg: The 7 Issues Guide


Pete Buttigieg; Photo by Yuri Gripas, Reuters

The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting in their bid to become our next President.

Today, let’s get to know Pete Buttigieg!


Career Highlights

✦ Current Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (since 2011)
✦ Former Naval intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve



Accessible Healthcare: “I think conservatives have gotten hung up on this very narrow view of freedom because they’ve forgotten that the government’s not the only thing that can make you unfree. And that’s why I talk about access to healthcare as a source of freedom.” Source

Medicare for All: “As a mayor, my instinct is to really think about how to get something done and not to make the promise unless you have some view of the pathway. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you have to have a pathway there. … And to me the public option is the way to do it. I’ve been calling it “Medicare for all who want it.” What you’re doing is taking a version of Medicare and you’re putting it out there, and then if people like me are right, then it will be not only a benefit in terms of getting more people covered, but also being more efficient and cost effective than the corporate patchwork system we have today.” Source

Single Payer: “Buttigieg says he’s “all for” a single-payer health care system. But he has said he wouldn’t immediately jump to single-payer from the current system. Instead, Buttigieg would first implement an all-payer rate setting — a system that would not eliminate private insurance companies.” Source 

Mental Health: “He supports … increased funding of, and access to, mental health and behavioral services.” Source

Legislative Action: “South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has vetoed the rezoning of a property near the site of a proposed abortion clinic. It would have allowed the pro-life Women’s Care Center to set up next door.” Source 


Climate Change

Paris Climate Accord: “Buttigieg was one of 407 U.S. mayors who signed a pact to adhere to the Paris climate accord after President Donald Trump pulled out of the international agreement 2017.” Source 

Green New Deal: “To me what’s really important about the Green New Deal isn’t like one of the elements of it, it’s the concept. It’s the concept that we have a national emergency commensurate with a depression or a war. And then the second part of it, the concept that, in rising to meet that challenge, there’s a ton of economic opportunity. To me, that’s what’s really appealing about it. Also, the Green New Deal today is a set of goals, not a fully articulated plan. Which is fine.” Source 

Intergenerational Justice: If you thought in terms of the effects of public policy on millennials, he said, you began to see generational imbalances everywhere. … Cutting taxes for the richest Americans meant that young people, inevitably, would have to pay the bill. Climate policy, he said, was the deepest example of the imbalance.” Source

Climate Solutions: “Buttigieg considers climate change a national security threat and a “longterm” problem that will especially impact younger Americans and future generations. He supports every U.S. house becoming “net zero” consumer of energy, and is in favor of the government subsidizing solar panels.” Source 


Civil Rights

LGBTQ Rights: “Buttigieg favors passing the Federal Equality Act, an amendment to existing civil rights legislation that would give federal non-discrimination protections to LBGTQ people.” Source

Marriage Equality: “I remind everybody that freedom to marry is a pretty important one that matters more for a lot of us in our lives than freedom from this or that obscure regulation.” Source

Transgender Rights: “He opposes the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. He also supports gender reassignment surgery for transgender people in prison.” Source

Equality Act: “When I ask if he would sign the Equality Act, Buttigieg says he would. When I ask if he would sign a lesser version of the bill that dropped trans protections as part of some bipartisan compromise — as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act’s congressional sponsors did back in 2007 with the Human Rights Campaign’s support — the mayor says that he would be “hard pressed” to do so and would likely only consider it if that’s what trans people wanted him to do.” Source

Criminal Justice Reform: “I consider criminal justice reform to be a key issue,” he says. “The cost of incarceration — and I’m not just saying the fiscal cost, but the social cost of incarceration — is tremendous. It’s clearly worsening some of the patterns of racial inequality in our country, too. I think more Americans than we realize agree on this issue. We just need more politicians to catch up.” Source


Gun Reform

Background Checks: “As the mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group that advocates for gun control legislation at the state and federal level. He also supports universal background checks, and opposed allowing guns in schools and so-called “Stand Your Ground” self-defense gun laws.” Source 

Assault Weapons: “After the Las Vegas massacre, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, wrote: “I did not carry an assault weapon around a foreign country so I could come home and see them used to massacre my countrymen.” Source

Gun Reform: “Do you believe the 2A entitles you to acquire a Predator drone? If not, then you agree there are limits, and might perhaps consider joining the majority of Americans (incl. gun owners) in supporting popular, *constitutional*, evidence-based gun policy measures to help save lives.” Source

Arming Teachers: Buttigieg is against arming teachers. (see above)


Voting Rights

Voter ID: “… there is still much more work to be done to ensure that our democracy is accessible to as many citizens as possible. We combat discriminatory voter-ID laws and we press for the expansion of early voting, automatic voter registration, and the reform of non-democratic structures like the Electoral College and the gerrymandered House. The people should pick their representatives, not the other way around.” Source

Voter Suppression: “It’s worth questioning why anybody in politics is motivated to do this. If you stand to be at a disadvantage when more people vote, then the problem isn’t with the voters — the problem is with you. Why wouldn’t we want every eligible voter to vote and win fair and square a contest of ideas among those voters?” Source

Increasing Turnout: “Though he acknowledges that historically the voter turnout rate for young people is lower than the voter turnout rate overall, he believes in its potential to be activated. When he was an undergraduate at Harvard, Buttigieg worked on a team researching low voter turnout among young people.” Source

Expanding Voting Rights: “Buttigieg is right about this, as he is right about the need for an ambitious democracy agenda that includes support for the extension of voting rights, for securing full representation for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the Congress, for bold action to address gerrymandering and voter suppression and for necessary steps to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.” Source

Electoral College: “Well, first of all, we’ve got to repair our democracy. The Electoral College needs to go, because it’s made our society less and less democratic.” Source

Statehood: “He wants Washington, D.C., to become a state, which is something that Democrats have long wanted and Republicans have long resisted. Give statehood to Puerto Rico too.” Source


Economic Inequality

Taxes: “What is extraordinary is to do massive tax cuts for the wealthiest, blowing up the debt in the context of an economic recovery where you didn’t need that stimulus in the first place and no one was even asking for it. That’s the kind of irresponsible decision that has a both a very unfair distribution affect within the moment and also winds up effectively telling middle-class people my age that we are going to be subsidizing the wealthiest people today for the rest of our lives.” Source

Trade Policies and Labor: Buttigieg “thinks NAFTA caused irreplaceable job losses across the industrial Midwest. He is a strong supporter of labor and union groups, and says Democrats must work harder to advocate for working people and help them achieve economic stability.” Source

Minimum Wage: As mayor, Buttigieg raised the minimum wage for city employees.  His plan was to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018, but he moved up the schedule and did it in 2016. Source

Automation & Jobs: “So, finding industries where — or products where because of small intellectual property or security aspect or something about the application or the service that some reason why it does need to be made in the U.S. … But, there’s a bigger picture, which I think is demonstrating that there is a role for American workers to play in a modern and globalized economy that’s not just the role of victim. And so, really highlighting some of these jobs that are being created, again, much less labor intensive than it used to be, you know, a hundred people instead of a thousand for a certain level of output. But the jobs it does create, they’re good jobs, they pay well. And there’s a level of security there.” Source

Housing: As mayor, Buttigieg launched the “1000 Properties in a 1000 Days” program, where the city rebuilt or demolished vacant homes in distressed parts of the city, in an effort to improve those neighborhoods. The project was completed 60+ days ahead of schedule. Source

Economic Growth: “While South Bend’s population declined steadily from 1970 to 2010, in the years since Buttigieg took over as mayor, it’s been growing again. That’s been powered by admitting that the old factories are not going to reopen and refocusing the economic model on higher education, health care, technology, and services.” Source


Foreign Affairs

Russia: “Buttigieg sees dangers in unbridled capitalism. In his recent interview with MSNBC, he used Russia as an example of what capitalism looks like without democracy. He said it can quickly evolve into crony capitalism and then an oligarchy — a government controlled by a small group of wealthy business leaders and officials.” Source

North Korea: “This president seems committed to talking to our enemies but seems to have a little more trouble talking to our friends. I’m not totally convinced that the United States has a foreign policy right now. I’m having a hard time figuring out what we got in exchange for legitimizing the North Korean regime. We’ve put an American flag next to a North Korean flag and basically treated a dictator like an equal.” Source

China: “Well, we certainly need to hold China accountable for things from currency manipulation to intellectual property theft. At the same time, we can also very easily move into self-defeating territory if the rhetoric is not part of a strategy. … So I’m not sure that there is really a strategy behind any of this, and we need to be cognizant not only that the way we handle our trade is going to have serious implications for workers in places like where I come from, we also need to recognize that China is competing with us not only in economic and not only in hard power but also in soft power.” Source

Iran: “Buttigieg says his experience serving as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan helped shaped his views on American policy in the Middle East. Like other 2020 Democratic candidates, he has criticized Trump for conducting foreign policy by tweet. … He has also said Iran poses the greatest threat to Israel in the Middle East.” Source

Use of Force Abroad: “I guess the way I’d put it is that anything we do should be, one, grounded in core American interests. Two, vetted against American values. And three, consulted on with American allies whenever we responsibly can do that. Another way to put it simply is the bar ought to be higher.” Source



Campaign website: Pete for America

Check out all of our 7 Issues Guides: Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, John Delaney, Joe Biden, Eric Swalwell


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16 replies

  1. Excellent synopsis….people need to get to know this young man…..he is the future of the Dems….chuq

    • He is definitely getting attention right now. I can see why.

    • I’m a Tulsi Gabbard supporter as well. If you haven’t done so already, please consider contributing to her campaign. She only needs 25K more individual donors to make the Democratic debate stage! I strongly feel her anti-war message would resonate with many voters on both sides of the aisle.
      More than likely Biden is our best bet come 2020, the only establishment candidate popular enough to go head to head with Trump.

      • I think trump would eat Biden alive.
        I like him and Bernie, but I think we need someone fresh and aggressive, but in a classy way, not like the crudeness of trump.
        Course…anyone is better than trump

      • Hi Mary, I would have to respectfully disagree that Mr. Biden would lose to Trump. According to FOX News’ own poll: Despite not yet announcing his candidacy, Biden leads the pack at 31 percent among Democratic primary voters according to the results of a Fox News survey released Sunday. Sanders, who announced a run in February, trails him at 23 percent. Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they wanted to see Biden enter the race.
        Democratic primary voters were also asked what is more important in a candidate: the ability to beat Trump or supporting the candidate they like the most. Fifty-one percent said beating Trump as their main priority in choosing a nominee, while 36 percent said it was more important to back a candidate that they most favor.
        In hypothetical matchups between the candidates and Trump if the election were held today, both Biden and Sanders beat Trump among the pool of registered voters surveyed. Biden led Trump 47 percent to 40 percent, while Sanders beat Trump 44 percent to 41 percent.
        Trump beat all the other candidates.
        Biden is expected to announce that he is running for president by mid-April and is reportedly considering bringing on Stacey Abrams as a running mate. Abrams has become a leading figure in Democratic politics after her close loss to Brian Kemp in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race.

      • Ability to win is paramount. And I agree with your stats and maybe it is better for Biden or Bernie to run against trump. Even if they lose, it saves these newer candidates for the future, long after trump has gone without a loss on their records.

  2. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Of a crowded field … ‘let’s get to know Pete Buttigieg!’ … sounds quite interesting!!

  3. He’s an intriguing candidate. Didn’t know a whole lot about him. I think he’s someone that could gain traction. Can’t wait to see him on the debate stage with the rest.

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Today I bring you the 6th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for president next year. Pete Buttigieg is on deck today, and he is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Mr. Buttigieg!

  5. I like what this man has to say, he’s very reasonable, with a well thought out platform. He should be more specific about the use of force abroad, ie correlation with the amount of PAC money he willingly accepts.

  6. He is such a breath of fresh air! Gosh…why can’t this country ever elect people like this! Ignorance, racism and bigotry, I suppose.

  7. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    Another 7-Issues Candidate Guide with a surprising candidate who is starting to get some attention

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