Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
Jump to  stances on the issues
Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Buttigieg has positioned himself as a moderate and has called for generational change in political leadership. The second-term mayor is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and was a Rhodes scholar.
Harvard College, B.A., 2004; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 2007
January 19, 1982
Chasten Buttigieg
US Navy Reserve, 2009-2017;
Consultant at McKinsey and Co., 2007-2010


Pete Buttigieg delivers infrastructure message from a bridge with a cracked steel beam
Updated 4:18 PM ET, Fri Jun 11, 2021
Truck driver Clifton Hughey heard talk all his life about a potential third highway bridge to cross the Mississippi River near Memphis. But with one of the two interstate spans here closed after inspectors discovered a critical crack, Hughey's once thirty-minute trip to haul goods at a nearby train terminal is now a grinding two- or three-hour detour. "They've been talking about it since I was little," Hughey told CNN, standing next to his shiny red Peterbilt. Haulers like Hughey are paid by the mile, not the hour. "We look at working five days a week but you're only getting paid for three because of the bridge out." Hughey drives one of the estimated 60,000 vehicles that until last month crossed the Interstate 40 Hernando DeSoto Bridge between Tennessee and Arkansas every single day. That traffic across what locals call the "New Bridge" has detoured onto the nearby and already congested "Old Bridge" -- a relic first opened in 1949 that now is the sole backbone of this critical logistics hub. "The New Bridge," built in the 1970s, is hardly the only bridge in disrepair in the US. The American Society of Civil Engineers says more than 46,000 bridges nationwide -- carrying 178 million vehicles daily -- are structurally deficient, rated as poor. The price tag to fix the country's bridge repair backlog is $125 billion, ASCE says. And while the Biden administration and congressional Republicans spar over the size and priorities of an infrastructure bill, those bridges are rusting and corroding. RELATED: The impacts from repairing the cracked I-40 bridge Inspecting the I-40 bridge in Memphis last week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN that this project shows how "sometimes a specific piece of infrastructure in one place is actually a national concern." Logistics hub The trails through Memphis are critical to both the region and the entire US economy, local officials say. They point out the interstate highways make it the third-busiest trucking route, moving $350 billion of goods annually. Barge arrivals on the Mississippi River to the International Port of Memphis make it the fifth-largest inland port. Only one other city -- Chicago -- is also connected to five of the largest freight railroads. And Memphis International Airport is the FedEx Superhub, making it the world's busiest airport for air cargo. "This country needs to realize that from a transportation logistics perspective, this country doesn't work without Memphis, Tennessee," said logistics executive Bill Dunavant, whose firm Dunavant Enterprises has been hauling goods for generations, adding that the need for action is particularly urgent now. In the CNN interview on the I-40 bridge, Buttigieg points to it as an example of the "hard infrastructure" where he hopes lawmakers can find consensus, even as they continue to squabble over the broader definition of infrastructure. GOP negotiators on Capitol Hill have proposed significantly smaller plans than the Biden administration's ask, which includes money for at-home caregiving and to renovate and retrofit homes. Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said after meeting with Buttigieg in Memphis that she wants to see the I-40 bridge back in service "safely and quickly." That's a priority Buttigieg shares. A failure of projects like the I-40 bridge, he noted, "would completely disrupt life in this case for the whole region and sometimes for the whole country." A critical crack The acute issue with the I-40 bridge is a crack in a 900 foot steel beam, discovered during a May inspection. The issue was so serious that inspectors called 911 and told dispatchers to close the bridge immediately. The bridge is currently closed to traffic in both directions, and it is unclear when it will reopen. "It's so simple and so shocking to see a literal split in a steel beam on which millions of pounds of pressure and countless thousands of lives depend," Buttigieg said. That tragedy struck in 2007 a few hundred miles north. Another interstate bridge over the Mississippi River -- an I-35 span in Minneapolis -- collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. Investigators attributed the failure to a design issue and not corrosion and cracks in the structure. In its 2021 report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave US bridges a C, only slightly better than the country's overall infrastructure rating of C-. It says 21,000 bridges nationwide are at risk of a potential disaster in extreme weather, possibly from water flowing over the surface or washing out the foundation. RELATED: The US gets a C- on infrastructure -- the first time the nation scored outside the D rage in 20 years Other common issues with bridges, ASCE former president Andy Herrmann said, are rust and flaking metal on steel beams and girders, and water leaking through the deck. The costs to repair continually degrading bridges is mounting, and skyrocketing prices for steel and other supplies add to the bill. Herrmann said poor infrastructure is hitting Americans in the wallet and pocketbook daily. "It's costing us money to repair our cars from damaged roads and bridges," he told CNN in an interview. "It's costing us money (on time) wasted in traffic -- costing us money on gasoline that we have to spend because we're just sitting wasting it idling." Herrmann said he is watching the politics in Washington with interest. "I'm a little hopeful this time, but I've been through infrastructure weeks in the past and I'm hoping this time we're actually going to make the investment," he said. In Memphis, officials are watching, too. In the trucking world, Dunavant and Hughey say the I-40 bridge closure shows the time is ripe for a third span there. "We're sitting here with the crisis of a bridge that could have been avoided years ago," Hughey said.


climate crisis
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Buttigieg released a plan in September 2019 that aims to move the US to clean energy and agriculture, shield existing communities and industries from the effects of climate change and lead a global response to the crisis. He calls for the Department of Defense to set up a Climate Watch Floor and would create a new senior climate security role within the department. He aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, pledging to invest $25 billion annually in research by 2025 – a move he compares to the Manhattan Project – and to set a price on carbon, generating money that would be returned to Americans as a dividend. He says his plan would generate 3 million new jobs as the economy transitions to clean energy production. Buttigieg pledges to spend $5 billion annually on grants for rural communities and ensure that new infrastructure “can withstand extreme weather and sea level rise.” He calls for integrating climate change into national security planning. Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also proposed his own plan, which would impose a carbon tax on corporations and polluters and pass on the money raised from that tax to Americans as a dividend. Buttigieg has said he would rejoin the Paris climate accord, the landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. Buttigieg says he wants to ensure the US – “not China” – will lead the climate response globally, and suggests he’d use sanctions to push other countries to adopt carbon-pricing programs. He has also said that while the Paris accord is critical, he would like to hold a “Pittsburgh summit” within his first 100 days as president, where cities would come together to work on curbing emissions. More on Buttigieg’s climate crisis policy
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On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has clearly stated his view that manufacturing jobs are not returning to their previous levels because of factors like automation. In July 2019, he introduced a plan aimed at protecting workers and putting big tech companies firmly in the hot seat. Buttigieg would guarantee the right to join a union for all American workers including gig economy workers – like Uber and Lyft drivers, who are considered independent contractors and not employees of the companies. Buttigieg is no fan of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and has suggested that it caused significant and largely irreversible job loss. He has also focused on the need for the federal government to spur entrepreneurship in underserved communities. He has proposed having the government “triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas – particularly ones of color – within 10 years” by offering grants and incentivizing investment in underserved areas and overhauling credit scoring as a way to open up credit opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. In August 2019, Buttigieg rolled out a proposal to provide $500 million in federal funding for “Regional Innovation Clusters.” Those would allow state and local governments to take the lead on developing economic projects based on the specific needs of individual rural communities through a grant program judged by a panel of entrepreneurs across the country. Buttigieg pledges up to $5 billion to expand apprenticeship networks across the country “to ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American,” including underserved rural areas. Buttigieg seeks to create “Community Renewal visas,” with the aim of attracting high-skilled immigrants with the promise of attaining green cards at the end of three-year residencies in rural communities. Buttigieg also supports raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 and passing paid family and medical leave. More on Buttigieg’s economic policy
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Buttigieg – who, along with his husband, Chasten, has student loan debt that combined amounts to six figures – does not support making college tuition-free. He argues that lower- and middle-income families should benefit from tuition-free public college but not the children of the wealthy, or, as he put it once, “even the children of billionaires.” Buttigieg has looked to tie education affordability to his national service plan. The mayor, who himself served in the Navy Reserve, said his administration would provide support and incentives for students who decide to go into a service field before or after college. Buttigieg says he supports charter schools in some instances, but he said in Iowa earlier this year that “for-profit charter schools should not be our vision for the future.” His plan to combat racial inequality in the United States would increase resources to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions by $25 billion. More on Buttigieg’s education policy
gun violence
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Buttigieg released a plan in August 2019 that would increase federal funding to combat hate and violent extremism, boost federal research into gun violence and work with social media companies to stem incendiary rhetoric online. He would dedicate $1 billion to law enforcement, including increasing the FBI’s field staff, for “sufficient resources to counter the growing tide of white nationalist violence.” Those funds would also be reinvested in Department of Homeland Security efforts to fight extremism, violence and hate. Buttigieg supports universal background checks. He has also backed a nationwide gun licensing system and a ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. As mayor of South Bend, he’s long had a focus on reducing gun violence. Buttigieg joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 1,000 current and former mayors advocating stricter gun laws, in 2013 and supported the South Bend Group Violence Intervention, a program aimed at combating gun violence in the city.Buttigieg often talks about gun laws through a personal lens. As the youngest candidate in the 2020 race, he grew up in an era when school shootings have become common. As a veteran, he has training and experience with weapons. More on Buttigieg’s gun violence policy
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Buttigieg supports what he calls “Medicare for all who want it” – an idea that he says is a pathway to the “Medicare for All” proposal backed by other candidates, which would create a national government health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Under Buttigieg’s plan, private health insurance would still exist for consumers. Buttigieg also focuses on health care in his Douglass Plan, aimed at combating inequality for African Americans. He plans to diversify the medical workforce and create “health equity zones” to address health care disparities in certain geographic locations. In August 2019, he proposed a plan to improve health care access in rural communities by waiving visa requirements to attract immigrant doctors, increasing access to telehealth services by expanding high speed internet and creating a new office within the Department of Health and Human Services. Buttigieg plans to reduce maternal mortality rates by funding pre-maternity homes and offering subsidies for housing and transportation. He would also extend Medicaid coverage for one-year postpartum. Currently, Medicaid typically covers only 60 days of postpartum care. In October 2019, Buttigieg released a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs and jump-starting pharmaceutical innovation. The plan, titled “Affordable Medicine for All,” would penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than the rate of inflation and by increasing the annual Branded Prescription Drug Fee, a section of the Affordable Care Act that sets an annual fee according to each manufacturer’s share of drug sales that goes to government programs like Medicare Part D and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Buttigieg also released an LGBTQ rights plan that proposes eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, ensuring access to the HIV drug PrEP for all who need it, finding a cure for AIDS and ensuring health insurance providers cover trans-specific medical care. More on Buttigieg’s health care policy
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Buttigieg has said he wants a comprehensive immigration plan, which would include providing a pathway to citizenship for those who received Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants, including people brought to the US as minors. He also calls for addressing the backlogs in the immigration and asylum processes and having “reasonable” security measures at the US-Mexico border. “I don’t have a problem with enhanced border security, perhaps to include fencing,” Buttigieg told PBS in February 2019. He suggested border security cannot be simplified with “just putting up a wall from sea to shining sea.” He has also proposed ending family separation at the border and evaluating practices from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection “to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.” More on Buttigieg’s immigration policy


Volunteer for New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams stabbed
Updated 8:43 PM ET, Sun Jun 20, 2021
A volunteer working with New York mayoral candidate Eric Adams' campaign was stabbed in the Bronx on Sunday, Adams tweeted Sunday evening. "This violence must stop," he wrote, adding police are investigating the situation. The victim, a 42-year-old male, was stabbed "multiple times" at 149th and Morris Avenue, New York Police Department spokesperson Edward Riley told CNN. The victim is "not likely to die" as a result of the injuries, Riley said, adding the investigation is "active and ongoing." Adams' campaign told CNN on Sunday evening the volunteer was "out of surgery and stable." Earlier Sunday, Adams joined local elected leaders to speak out against gun violence across the city, a spokesman for the campaign said.