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Biography 

Pete Buttigieg is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, an office he assumed in 2012 at the age of 31. Buttigieg studied history and literature at Harvard and was later awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics at Oxford. After Oxford, Buttigieg worked for several years at consulting firm McKinsey and Co. He also became a commissioned naval intelligence officer in 2009, leaving his mayorship in South Bend in 2012 to serve in Afghanistan for seven months. Buttigieg announced his candidacy on the rusted floor of the Studebaker factory in his hometown of South Bend.


On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Pete Buttigieg has said on the campaign trail. For our take on why these are the 12 issues that are most important to our community, read here.

DOMESTIC POLICY

Democracy Reforms

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Bigoted Speech

Hate Crime

NO BAN Act

Immigration

Surveillance

Criminal Justice Reform

FOREIGN POLICY

Iran Tensions

Israel Palestine

U.S. Presence in the Arab World

Ongoing Conflicts


DOMESTIC POLICY


Democracy Reforms  

  • Still the conversation that we've been having for the last 20 years. Of course we need to get money out of politics. But when I propose the actual structural democratic reforms that might make a difference, end the Electoral College, amend the Constitution, if necessary, to clear up Citizens United, have D.C. actually be a state, and depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform, people look at me funny, as if this country were incapable of structural reform. Does anybody really think we're going to overtake Citizens United without constitutional action? This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn't drink and then changed it back because we changed our minds about that. (7/30/2019 Democratic Debate, transcript, NBC)

  • "If we undercount Latinx, Black, Native American, and other communities of color, they will be shortchanged in a thousand different ways, deprived of critical resources for health care, infrastructure, and education. I have pledged to help support efforts to make sure everyone knows the importance of being counted in the next census to dilute the distorting of these manipulations—no matter what the court decides. An accurate census is a cornerstone of our democracy. It ensures that everyone has equal political representation and that every community receives its fair share of federal funding. Unfortunately, by the time the next president takes office, the 2020 census will have already taken place. But there are forward-looking measures I would take as president—beginning with enshrining in law that you cannot manipulate the census for political advantage by introducing a question that would likely distort or diminish the accuracy of the census. " (6/25/19, Campaign email)

  • Part of the punishment when you are convicted of a crime and you’re incarcerated is you lose certain rights. You lose your freedom. And I think during that period it does not make sense to have an exception for the right to vote.” (4/22/19, Twitter) 

  • I do believe that when you have served your sentence, then part of being restored is your right to vote. As you know, some states and communities do it, some don’t. I think we’d be a better country if everybody did it. Frankly, I think the motivations for preventing that kind of re-enfranchisement, in some cases, have to do with one side of the aisle noticing that they politically benefit from that. And that’s got some racial layers too. (4/22/19, Twitter) 

 

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 

  • "From employment and housing discrimination to adoption services to hate-crime legislation, the battle for equality is not over. But today is the anniversary of three important civil rights victories, and it’s important to acknowledge just how far we’ve come." (6/26/2019, Twitter)

  • I think [the Douglass Plan] does not take the place of the conversation around reparations. I also support passing H.R. 40. I would sign it, which would create a commission to look at reparations. But I do think that this is also restorative, in the same way that reparations is intended to be. This is not a gift. This is a restoration. It is trying to address generational harms and specific intentional theft that took place.  (7/11/19, NPR) 

  • [The Marshall Plan] demonstrates what America can do when we're serious. America basically rebuilt Europe after World War II, and what we need to do now is an investment of comparable ambition right here at home, because what we've learned is that racist policies being replaced by neutral policies is not enough, that the inequities that we have in our country were put in intentionally by generations and sometimes centuries of racist policy. They're not going to go away just because you replace a racist system with a neutral one. We need to intentionally invest in health, in home ownership, in entrepreneurship, in access to democracy, in economic empowerment. If we don't do these things, we shouldn't be surprised that racial inequality persists because inequalities compound. Just like a dollar saved, a dollar stolen also compounds. And I think that helps to explain the persistent racial inequality that we have in our national life today. (7/11/19, NPR) 

  • The death penalty has been one of many examples where racial discrimination has played out. You can see it in the simple fact that someone convicted of the same crime is more likely to face the death penalty if they are black. Not to mention the very ugly history of the way that judicial and extra-judicial killings have been used to enforce white supremacy through American history. It's time to put an end to that. It's time to join the ranks of nations that have put the ugliness of capital punishment behind them. And while I'm pleased to see states taking this step, and I believe the federal government can and should take this step, too, at the end of the day it is the kind of thing that deserves to be in our Constitution. (7/11/19, NPR) 

  • [Pete Buttigieg’s Douglas Plan ]

  • “I’ve talked a lot about generational change and generational politics, and one of the things I know I needed to do is to be in touch with every generation in the struggle for equality. One thing I learned early in is having good intentions is not enough and that things don’t look the same depending on your life experience. Policing to economic inclusion, just because you’re trying generically to take care of everybody, doesn’t mean that support will teach everybody in the same way. There are too many structural-and in many cases, intentionally built-barriers to that. If you’re not equally intentional about tearing down those barriers, you’re gonna come up short. Our community held me accountable on that, they really educated me on that.” (4/29/19, US News) 

 


  Securitization and Surveillance 

  • "On this day in 2003, the Supreme Court reaffirmed one of the most important rights in America: the right to privacy, especially in our most intimate spaces. Lawrence v. Texas changed the lives of millions, but it was only a single step." (6/26/2019, Twitter)

Hate Crime  

  • "Change will not just happen. We need Congress to deliver on common-sense gun laws supported by an American majority, like universal background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons. And we need every state to pass a hate crimes law." (6/12/2019, Twitter)

  • “The debate about hate crime legislation is indeed about freedom: freedom from hate.” (1/14/19, Twitter 

  • Pulse wasn’t an attack on just one community ― it was an attack on LGBTQ Americans, Latinx Americans, and Black Americans. It was an attack on people who look like me, and an attack on people who look nothing like me. It was an attack on all of us. It was an attack on individuals expressing their sexuality, their heritage, their gender, and their freedom. Change will not just happen. It will only come as the result of struggle-political struggle, moral struggle. We need Congress to deliver on common-sense gun safety laws supported by an American majority, like universal background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons. And we need to incentivize every state to pass hate crime laws. (6/12/19 Huff Post) 

Criminal Justice Reform 

  • “It is time to face the simple fact that capital punishment as seen in America has always been a discriminatory practice and we would be a fairer and safer country when we join the ranks of modern nations who have abolished the death penalty.” (4/4/19, Business Insider) 

  • “We insist that being pro-military and being pro-racial justice not only can but must be compatible with being pro-rule of law and respectful of law enforcement doing the right thing.” (4/4/19, Business Insider) 

  • Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism whatever this particular incident teaches us we will be left with the bigger problem of the fact that there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time. Not just from what has happened in the past but what’s happening around the country in the present. It threatens the well being of every community. And I am determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle when they see a police officer approaching feels the exact same thing. A feeling not of fear but of safety. I’m determined to bring that day about.” (6/28/19, The New York Times)  

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use  

No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email our Communications Team. 

  • “People like me get strung up in Iran” (3/29/19, Elle) 

  • Mayor Pete understands that racism is not just a black and white issue, and that we also need to address the unique challenges facing other communities–from Native communities confronting poverty and dispossession to the Islamophobia impacting Middle Eastern, Arab, and South Asian communities, to dehumanizing immigration policies that stereotype Latinos and overlook their vital contributions to our economy.” (7/11/19, Official Campaign Website) 

  • “There’s nothing new about denying the belonging of those who call our nation to its highest values and criticize those in power. Those who launch such attacks reveal that they do not understand what is greatest about America.” (7/15/19, Twitter)

Immigration 

  • When I am president, illegally crossing the border will still be illegal. We can argue over the finer points of which parts of this ought to be handled by civil law and which parts ought to be handled by criminal law. But we've got a crisis on our hands. And it's not just a crisis of immigration; it's a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border. It is a stain on the United States of America. Americans want comprehensive immigration reform. And frankly, we've been talking about the same framework for my entire adult lifetime, protections for DREAMers; making sure that -- that we have a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented; cleaning up lawful immigration. We know what to do. We know that border security can be part of that package and we can still be a nation of laws. The problem is we haven't had the will to get it done in Washington. And now we have a president who could fix it in a month, because there is that bipartisan agreement, but he needs it to be a crisis rather than an achievement. That will end on my watch So in my view, if fraud is involved, then that's suitable for the criminal statute. If not, then it should be handled under civil law. (7/30/2019 Democratic Debate, transcript, NBC)

  • “Today, as many gather to hear Sunday messages about our responsibility to welcome the stranger, this president is carrying out ICE raids designed to tear families apart, divide our communities, and further his extreme agenda. #ICEraids will not make us safer—time for real reform.” (7/14/19, Twitter) 
  • “The biggest crisis around immigration today is the inhumanity of this administration’s policies.” (6/19/19, New York Times) 
  • “The American people want a pathway to citizenship. They wanted protections for Dreamers. We need to clean up the lawful immigration system, like how my father immigrated to this country. And as part of a compromise, we can do whatever commonsense measures are needed at the border. But Washington can’t deliver on something the American people want. What does that tell you about the system we’re living in? It tells you it needs profound structural reform.” (6/28/19, The New York Times) 

 

NO BAN Act 

No statements recorded. If you'd like to submit a statement to appear on this website, please email our Communications Team. 


FOREIGN POLICY 


Israel/Palestine 

  • On the November, 2019 Gaza flare-up: "I strongly condemn the rocket attacks on the citizens of southern and central Israel. Israel has a right to defend itself against acts of terror that set back any progress towards peace and will only serve to inflame the humanitarian situation in Gaza."(11/13/2019, Twitter)

  • “The occupation has to end. The militarization has, even people from, you know, who associated with the Israeli right, like Sharon, towards the end of his life recognized that this state of affairs is unsustainable and the pathway to peace has to include Israelis and Palestinians living side by side with self-determination. That is the right answer in our own security interests and a stable Middle East as well as and Israeli future that is Jewish and democratic and for the future of the Palestinian people... You can care about Israel’s future and believe in a U.S relationship and alliance with Israel without being on board with right wing policies of the Netanyahu government, which is now walking away from peace, in a way that will harm the Israeli people, the Palestinian people, and in the long run, the American people.” (7/12/19, Twitter)
      
  • “Israel’s human rights record is problematic and moving in the wrong direction.” (6/19/21, New York Times) 

  • “If Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.” (6/12/19, Mondoweiss) 

  • “As Israel’s most powerful and reliable ally, the United States has the opportunity to shape a more constructive path with the tough and honest guidance that friendship and fairness require. The current state of affairs cannot endure. The pressure of history and the mathematics of democracy mean that well before 2054, Israelis and Palestinians will have come to see either peace or catastrophe. A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively.” (6/10/19, NBC

  • “Being supportive of Israel does not mean that you are on board with the agenda of the Israeli political right wing. I am not. I believe this move to walk away from peace will harm Israeli interests. Will of course continue to contribute to the immiseration of the Palestinian people, and is not good for the U.S either” (5/24/19, JTA) 

  • “This provocation (Netanyahu annexing the West Bank) is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian, and American interests. Supporting Israel does not have to mean agreeing with Netanyahu’s politics. I don’t. This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution.” (4/6/2019, Twitter) 

  • “There really is not a unified or single voice for the Palestinian people. Most people aren’t aware of the difference between what’s happening in Gaza- run by Hamas in a way that is contributing to a lot of misery there-but also totally different than an environment where you’d have a negotiating partner across the table” (4/3/19, Vox)
     
  • “They’ve [Israel] also got to figure out — and we’ve got to figure out with them as an ally — what the regional security picture is going to look like thereIt’s always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this.” (4/3/19, Vox) 

Iran Tensions 

  • “Among the threats to American and human security, nuclear destruction remains paramount, which is why preventing the spread of nuclear weapons should remain a core tenet of our global leadership. For this reason, I will rejoin our international partners and recommit the United States to the Iran Nuclear Deal.”  (6/10/19, NBC) 

  • “Escalation is the last thing we need in the Middle East right now. And when you see what’s been happening, it appears that the administration driven by the way John, Bolton, one of the architects of the Iraq War, is continuing to try to prosecute a case to lead to higher tensions, escalation, and perhaps conflict with Iran as though we learned nothing from the las 15 years of armed conflict-conflict in the Middle East.” (5/26/19, Washington Examiner)   

 

U.S. Presence in the Arab World

  • “Since the election of the current president, the United States has hardly had a foreign policy at all,” Buttigieg said. “And lest that seem like a partisan jab, I should add that for the better part of my lifetime, it has been difficult to identify a consistent foreign policy in the Democratic Party either.” (6/11/2019, NBC

  • “The need for a new foreign policy vision could not be more urgent today. This administration has embraces and emboldened autocrats, while alienating democracies and allies around the globe.” (6/11/19, Reuters) 

  • The time has come for Congress to repeal and replace that blank check on the use of force and ensure a roust debate on any future operation. We should never again send troops into conflict with a clear definition of their mission and an understanding of what comes after.” (6/11/19, Politico) 

 

Ongoing Conflicts  

  • (On if he will withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of his first year)
    We will withdraw. We have to. Look, around the world, we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. But I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago. Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether it was somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, roommate, colleague. We're pretty close to the day when we will wake up to the news of a casualty in Afghanistan who was not born on 9/11. I was sent into that war by a congressional authorization, as well as a president. And we need to talk not only about the need for a president committed to ending endless war, but the fact that Congress has been asleep at the switch. And on my watch, I will propose that any authorization for the use of military force have a three-year sunset and have to be renewed, because if men and women in the military have the courage to go serve, members of Congress ought to have to summon the courage to vote on whether they ought to be there. (7/30/2019 Democratic Debate, transcript, NBC)