Today we cheer South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s decision to form an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run!
A former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and Harvard graduate, Mayor Pete first entered the political world as a senior in high school, when he was honored by the Kennedy Family for his prize-winning essay for the JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 2004, Mayor Pete worked for a variety of political organizations, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s international strategic consulting firm, The Cohen Group, and Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Mayor Pete was deployed to Afghanistan as a Naval intelligence office in 2013. He remains a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve.
Watch Mayor Pete address Victory Fund supporters:
Mayor Pete has been mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2011. As Mayor, he prioritized redevelopment and economic growth, including demolition and repair of certain properties. Mayor Pete authorized South Bend’s first Officer of Diversity and Inclusion.
If Mayor Buttigieg decides to run, he will become the first openly LGBTQ elected official to run for President of the United States. His decision comes in the wake of an unprecedented “Rainbow Wave” of openly LGBTQ candidates who ran this past election cycle at every level of government, many of whom broke down long-standing political barriers on Election Night.
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about Mayor Pete’s decision:
“An openly LGBTQ elected official forming a presidential exploratory committee is a historic and powerful moment for the LGBTQ community and the entire country. Exactly fifty years after the Stonewall uprising that gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement, we are finally in a place where an openly LGBTQ presidential candidate can be a serious contender. For the teenager in small-town America who is just coming to terms with their sexual orientation or gender identity, having an openly LGBTQ person running for the most important political office in the world will demonstrate there is no limit to what they can achieve – and that is transformative.
“In such a wide-open presidential race, Mayor Buttigieg would be a welcome contribution to the marketplace of ideas that will determine where our nation is headed in 2020 and beyond. And while he is not running on his sexual orientation, his presence will undoubtedly elevate LGBTQ issues in the Democratic primary. LGBTQ voters are an important part of the primary base, and with Mayor Buttigieg on the campaign trail and on the debate stages, other Democratic presidential candidates will need to be outspoken and well-versed on LGBTQ equality issues.
“Mayor Buttigieg is well-positioned for this political moment. He represents a new generation of presidential contenders and brings a sense of optimism and American solidarity that is entirely absent from the current national dialogue. He brings a unique set of skills and values to the race as a successful two-term executive, a first-generation American and a gay war veteran from a deep red state. Mayor Buttigieg understands that Americans are tired of politics as blood-sport and instead want politicians to address real issues affecting real lives. He sees the similarities between the blue-collar worker in Indiana, the undocumented immigrant in Arizona, and the young lesbian in middle school in rural Virginia – and he believes with strong leadership all their lives can be improved. Our country is in crisis and it is essential diverse perspectives are heard in this presidential race.”