By George Biagi
Pete Buttigieg is the first major LGBT candidate for run for president of the United States. He has already made history by being the first member of our community to win delegates to a national convention, coming in first in Iowa in delegate allocation. He was recently endorsed by the San Diego Union-Tribune and by California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego — the highest-ranking member of our state Legislature.
This is truly a historic moment for our community. But as many of my friends like to point out, the fact that he’s gay shouldn’t be the only reason to vote for him for president, and I couldn’t agree more. There are a whole host of reasons why Pete is worthy of our vote.
Pete Buttigieg is the one candidate for president who is inspiring Americans by proposing bold yet pragmatic policies that will unite us. At a time when our nation seems more divided than ever, it’s refreshing to find a candidate whose campaign is based on inclusion and belonging.
Ten months ago, Pete was a virtual unknown, the popular second-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Today, he’s one of the Democratic frontrunners, attracting progressives, moderates, independents, and what Pete likes to call “future former Republicans.”
In states that have voted, Pete did well across the board with all age groups; women and men; and rural, urban, and suburban voters. In Iowa, more than one-third of Pete’s precinct captains were Republicans, and his aggressive courting of non-Democrats in rural areas there helped him carry the vast majority of counties which flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016. Pete has shown that he is the one candidate who can truly unite the country in the era that will come after Trump.
As mayor of a Rust Belt city, Pete witnessed firsthand the frustrations of people who felt forgotten by Washington. That’s why he wants to build a country that works for all of us by bringing us together around policies that most Americans support: Medicare for all who want it, compassionate immigration reform, equity in our criminal justice and economic systems, common-sense gun reform, and restoring our leadership role in the fight against climate change.
Since 1960, the winning path to the White House for Democrats has been with candidates — Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama — who weren’t entrenched Washington insiders. They were young, fresh candidates who inspired hope, advocated for change, and urged us to reach for a better, brighter future. Pete Buttigieg is that candidate in 2020.
I’ve seen Pete up close, in California and Iowa, interacting with voters. I’ve come to appreciate that he’s everything the current president isn’t: kind, thoughtful, smart, articulate, relatable, compassionate, and a good listener. He’s a Navy veteran of the Afghan war who understands the value of military intelligence and speaks eloquently about the need for better, comprehensive care for our military personnel when they return home.
As Pete likes to remind us: “This is our shot to galvanize an American majority to defeat this president and send Trumpism into the dustbin of history.” I believe Pete Buttigieg is the best candidate to do this.
George Biagi is the deputy director of Legislative Services in the office of the San Diego City Clerk. He was the communications director for former San Diego City Council members Toni Atkins and Christine Kehoe, and a deputy press secretary for former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. He was the editor of the San Diego Gay & Lesbian Times from 1991-94.
Editor’s note: Pete Buttigieg will be holding a town hall in Chula Vista on Monday night, March 2, his final town hall the night before Super Tuesday. The event is free and open to the public. You can RSVP at https://www.mobilize.us/californiaforpete/event/249349/ For security reasons, details on the exact time and location will be released closer to the event by email to all who have registered for the event.