Pete Buttigieg on Civil Rights

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Douglass Plan: tackle racial inequality with funding & laws

[Responding to a police shooting in Buttigieg's hometown of South Bend Indiana, where a white police officer shot a black man, Mayor Buttigieg said], "If you're a white candidate, it is twice as important for you to be talking about racial inequity and not just describing the problem but actually talking about what we're going to do about it." Buttigieg told NPR his "Douglass Plan" aims to establish a $10 billion fund for black entrepreneurs over five years, invest $25 billion in historically black colleges, legalize marijuana, expunge past drug convictions, reduce the prison population by half and pass a new Voting Rights Act to further empower the federal government to ensure voting access. His campaign says it is equal in scale to the Marshall Plan, which used the equivalent of approximately $100 billion at current value to rebuild Europe after World War II. Buttigieg says the program would be enacted alongside potential direct reparations for slavery, not in place of it.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Jul 11, 2019

Racial inequality compounds, which is why it is persistent

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.
Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Jul 11, 2019

Has dealt with racism & police violence, but it's not enough

[Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a town hall after a black man was shot by the police in his home town.] "If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street. I don't want to seem defensive, but we have taken a lot of steps. They clearly haven't been enough. But I can't accept the suggestion that we haven't done anything. I acknowledge that it has not been enough. At the end of the day, I'm responsible."
Source: The Hill e-zine on 2020 Democratic primary , Jun 23, 2019

If U.S. to address human rights, we need to be credible

Q: How would you cooperate with countries that view homosexuality as a crime punishable by death?

A: I think it's wrong to harm or punish people because they're part of the LGBTQ community. I get that not every country is there. In some dramatically milder respects, but still very bothersome ones, our own country is not there. I believe that this is an example of why the world needs an America that is strong, that's credible, and that people believe keeps its word. Does anybody think right now that the U.S. has an awful lot of moral authority in the world? And whether it's LGBTQ rights or, frankly, any kind of human rights, it's really important for the U.S. to be a credible messenger. I still believe that America can spread values related to freedom and democracy that'll benefit various minorities living in their home countries, but not if we're not credible.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

Problem about me being gay means problem with my creator

[On Buttigieg's status as openly gay]: "That's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand," Buttigieg said: "That if you've got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me--your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."

Pete Buttigieg was campaigning to be re-elected mayor, when he came out as gay in 2015--a first for his state, which was then governed by Mike Pence, a self-described religious conservative. At the time, Pence, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ positions, spoke warmly of Buttigieg after his announcement about his sexuality. This was despite the fact that Buttigieg had criticized Pence's support of a controversial religious liberty law that some groups said would give legal cover to discrimination.

"If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade," Buttigieg said while speaking at an LGBTQ event this week, making a direct appeal to the same religious beliefs that Pence has said support his social conservative.

Source: People e-zine "LGBTQ History," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Address racial divide by showing up & building trust

We worked hard on civil rights training, on implicit bias training. But also on getting our police officers to do foot patrols, to walk the neighborhoods. To show up not just when there's an emergency, but when there's a fun fair or a church event or a block party. Whenever we've had a moment or an incident that has threatened to divide us racially in our city, we've made sure that we invest in the face time that it takes to reestablish trust.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 7, 2019

Calls for redistricting reform; questions Electoral College

Buttigieg endorsed redistricting reforms and other changes that would allow for greater representation of the public interest. "Bold changes and reforms are needed," Buttigieg said, including "things that might require constitutional action. Things like questioning whether it really makes sense to have an electoral college, which twice in my lifetime has overruled the American people. And whether it makes sense to continue with places like D.C. and Puerto Rico denied full political representation."
Source: Common Dreams e-zine on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 20, 2019

As mayor, renamed main street as Martin Luther King Blvd

From time to time, someone would come to a council meeting and argue that a street named "MLK Drive" ought to be extended to a longer stretch of the road. It made sense to me; especially compelling was the idea of making sure it was a street with a bus route, given the significance of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

It turns out that one of the few unilateral, unchecked powers that an Indiana mayor has is to rename a street. Every idea I floated for such "toponymic commemoration" met a new angle of resistance. There turned out to be a natural alternative: Saint Joseph Street. There were enough places already named after our area's patron saint of nearly everything. I announced it, arranged for the street signs to be made, and made it official on Dr. King's birthday in 2017.

Achieving this took only four years. And now, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard looks good, and so do the busses bearing Dr. King's name that run along it.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.152-4 , Feb 12, 2019

Declared "open city" for LGBT, when state became anti-LGBT

My own moral outrage compounded the fact that [RFRA] had just made my job, as a mayor intent on growing our community as an inclusive and welcoming place, more difficult. The bill would preempt local laws like our local nondiscrimination ordinance, and send a message that people living in our city could not expect to be treated equally. It was a blow to some of our most vulnerable residents--like a teenager at one of our high schools, already in the incredibly difficult process of facing her sexuality or gender identity, now being told that the state would not protect her rights.

The only way to avoid South Bend getting lumped in with the rest of the state was to be vocal. I sought to reassure members of the LGBT community that they were safe in South Bend, and called on the state to reverse course.

My office distributed stickers reading "COME ON IN: SOUTH BEND IS AN OPEN CITY," and they quickly became appearing in restaurant and shop windows across town.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.213-4 , Feb 12, 2019

Someday, politicians won't have to come out as gay

How to reconcile my professional life with the fact that I am gay? I was not eager to become the poster child for LGBT issues; I had strongly supported these causes but did not want to be defined by them. Before explaining it to the world, I had to explain it to some people in my life. In my case, the top of the list was my Mom and Dad.

If any disappointment surfaced at the table that night, it came after my mom looked at me, with a little light in her eyes, and asked, "Is there someone?" Only after answering no, and seeing the light fade a little, did I realize that the tone of her question had been one of hope. No, there wasn't someone at the moment. But I wished there were.

Someday politicians won't have to come out as gay any more than one "comes out" as straight. Someone like me would just show up at a social function with a date who was of the same sex, and everyone would figure it out and shrug. Maybe it's already getting to be like that, in some coastal cities. But not in Indiana.

Source: Shortest Way Home, by Pete Buttigieg, p.264-7 , Feb 12, 2019

For LGBT rights, but doesn't presume to speak for everyone

On "CBS This Morning," no one mentioned that Buttigieg could be the first gay President. I asked whether he saw that as a measure of how quickly gay identity has become accepted. "Depends where you are. You quickly get plunged into this world where you're supposed to represent your community," but at that point he had little experience of the gay community. "Like, I will fight for the trans woman of color, but do I really know anything about her experience because I'm married to a dude?"
Source: New Yorker magazine on 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 9, 2019

Voters have judged his record, not his marriage

Q: Is the country ready for a gay couple in the White House?

A: I think there's only one way to find out. When I came out, it was in the middle of a reelection campaign. I just reached that point in my life where I was ready. And we didn't know what

Source: ABC This Week 2019 interviews for 2020 Democratic primary , Feb 3, 2019

Freedom is personal, not about government regulation

Conservatives talk about freedom. They mean it, but they're often negligent about the extent to which things other than government make people unfree. You're not free if you have crushing medical debt. You're not free if you're being treated differently because of who you are. What has really affected my personal freedom more: the fact that I don't have the freedom to pollute a river, or the fact that for part of my adult life, I didn't have the freedom to marry somebody I was in love with.
Source: Christian Science Monitor on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 8, 2017

Came out as gay, to inspire others to judge character

Mayor Buttigieg wrote, "For a student struggling with her sexuality, it might be helpful for an openly gay mayor to send the message that her community will have a place for her. And for a conservative resident from a different generation, perhaps a familiar face can be a reminder that we're all in this together." He hoped his coming-out story would help people judge each other "by the things that we ought to care about most, like the content of our character and the value of our contributions."
Source: Mic Network on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Pete Buttigieg on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Larry Hogan (D-MD)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Gov.Bill Weld (R-MA&L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
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Page last updated: Aug 02, 2019