Pete Buttigieg (Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg) was born 19 January 1982. He belongs to the generation that came of age with school shootings, the generation that provided the majority of the troops in the conflicts after 9/11, the generation that is on the business end of climate change, and the generation that—unless we take action—stands to be the first to be worse off economically than their parents.
A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a graduate of Harvard University, Pete lives with his husband Chasten in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up, with their two rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the chief executive of the City of South Bend. The city’s thirty-second mayor, he was sworn into office on January 1, 2012. As mayor, Buttigieg is responsible for the city workforce of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget over $380 million.
During his first term, Buttigieg introduced the 1000 Homes in 1000 Days initiative, which demolished or repaired abandoned homes throughout South Bend. During his second term he constructed safer, more appealing “Smart Streets” as part of downtown placemaking, and in 2017 announced the largest investment to parks and trails in the city’s history. Buttigieg has improved transparency through an open data portal, increased performance through data-based decision-making, and empowered local businesses through community investment.
A Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard. Buttigieg was born in South Bend and grew up in the Northwest Side and North Shore Triangle neighborhoods. He attended St. Joseph High School in South Bend.
Buttigieg is past President of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus and the Northern Indiana Mayors Roundtable, and serves on the boards of the Truman National Security Project and the United States Conference of Mayors. In 2015 he received the New Frontier Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Harvard University Institute of Politics, and in 2016 he won the U.S. Department of Transportation Mayors’ Challenge Pedestrian and Bicycle Awards for the City’s work on Smart Streets.
Elected at the age of 29, Buttigieg has been profiled by the New York Times and was called “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of” by the Washington Post. An officer in U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009-17, Buttigieg took a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan during a seven-month deployment in 2014, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work.
Pete Buttigieg Quick Facts
- Born in South Bend in 1982.
- Pete studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard. The son of educators, he was born in South Bend and grew up in the Northwest Side and North Shore Triangle. He graduated from St. Joseph High School in South Bend.
- He went on to work as a consultant at McKinsey & Company between 2007 and 2010 and served for seven months in Afghanistan as a Navy reservist in 2014.
- At 29, he was elected mayor of South Bend, taking office in January 2012.
- In 2017, he ran for Democratic National Committee chair, earning national praise for his clear message and emphasis on rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up in every community. He currently serves as the chair of “Automation and the Impacts on America’s Cities” task force at the United States Conference of Mayors. The task force is examining how automation is shaping the economies of communities across America. Former President Barack Obama name-checked him as a rising star.
- The video announcing he will run for president focuses on his role in the Rust Belt city’s redevelopment and also takes aim at corruption and infighting in Washington.
- He came out as gay in 2015 and married Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher, last year.
Pete Buttigieg officially launched his bid to become the Democratic Party nominee for the 2020 presidential election and challenge Donald Trump for the White House. He held his launch event in South Bend, the Indiana town where he has served as mayor since 2012. Setting out his vision to “re-imagine our future”, he promised a “totally different” politics from Mr Trump. Should he win, Mr Buttigieg would be the first openly gay US president.
His recent star power showed through in a flurry of donations after his announcement, with supporters contributing more than $1 million to Buttigieg’s campaign in the four hours following his speech Sunday, his campaign communications adviser Lis Smith tweeted. Buttigieg used his hometown as a character in his announcement, including the fact that he, over the last eight years, had overseen a renewal in South Bend’s city center.
“There’s a long way for us to go. Life here is far from perfect. But we’ve changed our trajectory and shown a path forward for communities like ours. And that’s why I’m here today. To tell a different story than ‘Make America Great Again,'” Buttigieg said, the rain audibly beating down on the steel roof above him as the lectern in front of him visibly took on water. “Because there is a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities: the myth that we can stop the clock and turn it back.”
He added: “It’s time to walk away from the politics of the past, and toward something totally different. … That’s why, this time, it’s not just about winning an election—it’s about winning an era.”
Buttigieg’s launch took place inside the rain soaked and once bustling Studebaker plant that, when hollowed out after the company left in 1963, was a tangible symbol of his hometown’s march toward decay. The building stood as a symbol of what Buttigieg hopes to deliver to the country: While the mayor announced on the rusted factory floor, just a doorway away stood the portion of the building that had been revitalized into a gleaming incubator to tech startups. Buttigieg addressed a few hundred people in the event’s outdoor and fully uncovered overflow area.
“I am impressed by the people standing inside,” he said, the rain hitting his uncovered head. “I am moved by the people standing outside because this is what the beginning of a new American spring looks like.”
Despite his relative inexperience, the former Rhodes Scholar has surged in the polls in recent weeks, propelling him from the margins to the front of the pack. In a veiled attack on the Trump administration, he railed against the “myth being sold” by those who sought to “stop the clock and turn it back”.
Since announcing his presidential run in January, Mr Buttigieg has garnered a wave of attention from the media and voters, raising more than $7m (£5.3m) in funds in the first quarter of 2019. Buttigieg’s rise has also seen him get accepted to the upper echelon of Democratic donors, many of whom are looking to donate to multiple candidates as the field continues to grow.
“I said to him I will do whatever you need. If it is raising money, I will raise money, if it is talking to people in the national network, I am all in,” said Steve Grossman, a former DNC chair who endorsed Buttigieg days ago.
Another one of those donors is Susie Tompkins Buell, who — while supporting Harris — also hosted a fundraiser for Buttigieg and around 150 donors on Thursday in the Bay Area.
“He made a very big impression on, I think, everyone. He is very authentic, and this is what people are craving,” she said. “That is one thing he has in common with the current president: What you see is what you get. Otherwise, they are complete opposites.”
Analysts believe he could appeal to both moderates and progressives in the Democratic Party. Opinion polls in Iowa and New Hampshire last week put Mr Buttigieg third in both states, behind Bernie Sanders and former Vice-President Joe Biden. Mr Sanders launched his run last month, while Mr Biden, who has faced allegations of inappropriate touching by several women, is yet to announce his candidacy.
“Pete’s a different kind of candidate and we want to build a different kind of campaign,” said Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager. “We don’t want to a top down, consultant-laden operation. We want to be more like a startup, and we want to build in a smart way and a steady way.”
An active musician, Mayor Pete plays piano and guitar, and has performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
Pete Buttigieg lives with his husband Chasten in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up and is restoring a once-vacant home there.
- Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg Biography and Profile (Pete Buttigieg)