South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg defended the Green New Deal

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay major party presidential prospect, backs a Green New Deal

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 17, 2019 3:45PM (EDT)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (AP/Nam Y. Huh)

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of an Indiana small city named South Bend, spoke with anchor Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" to discuss his presidential ambitions and support for progressive programs like the Green New Deal.

"I know I'm the young face in this conversation, but not only do I have more years of government experience under my belt than the president, but I've got more years of executive government experience under my belt than the vice president," Buttigieg told Wallace, according to Fox News. Buttigieg also explained why he supports one of the more controversial aspects of the Democratic Party's 2020 program, the idea of a Green New Deal.

"What the Green New Deal gets right, is it recognizes that there's also an economic opportunity. Retrofitting buildings means a huge amount of jobs for the building trades in this country," Buttigieg told Wallace.

Buttigieg also told Wallace that he believed Democrats could win back Midwestern and working class voters who supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

"Some of them [Trump voters] voted to burn the house down because for years they saw that Democratic and Republican presidents produced economic and social policies that let them down," Buttigieg explained. "There are things that we can do to make sure that we succeed as these changes come especially in economically vulnerable communities like where I come from in the Midwest."

He later added, "There's something happening right now, that calls for something completely different than what we've been seeing. Generationally different, regionally different, somebody with a different life story and a different background. And to the surprise of many, including myself, this moment could be the only moment over the last 100 years or the next 100 years, when it's appropriate for someone like me to be in this conversation."

Born in 1982, Buttigieg would be 38 and thus the youngest president in history if elected in 2020. A veteran of the Afghanistan War, Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in 2011, making him the youngest mayor of a midsize American city. In 2017, Buttigieg shocked the political world by launching a long-shot bid to become the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a campaign that he ultimately lost. During that effort, Buttigieg told Salon that he believed the Democratic Party needed to be about larger ideals rather than individual leaders.

"Whatever the mechanisms are, we need to make sure people have a good reason to give to the party and become involved," Buttigieg told Salon in 2017.

He also told Salon that "you can't get caught talking about Trump all the time. We've got to be talking to people about our own values and how their lives will be changing for better or worse because of the policies in Washington... If all we're talking about is Trump, then he's already won."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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2020 Presidential Election All Salon Gay Rights Green New Deal” News & Politics Pete Buttigieg