By Logan Macaluso
INDIANAPOLIS – South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg called for a fresh start for the Democratic Party as he announced Thursday that he will run for chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Buttigieg, the twice-elected mayor of his hometown, made his announcement through a video posted on his website. In it he said that solutions to the party’s problems won’t come from Washington but from the communities across all 50 states.
File photo of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeig when he sat down with TheStatehouseFile.com reporter Shelby Mullis for a one-on-one interview about his role as one of America’s youngest mayors. Buttigeig has served as mayor of the northern Indiana city since 2012, also serving in Afghanistan for seven months during his first term. By Shelby Mullis, TheStatehouseFile.com
Buttigieg, 34, brings a strong resume to the table. He served in the Navy in Afghanistan and earned degrees in philosophy, politics, economics, literature and history from the University of Oxford and Harvard University. The Washington Post has referred to him as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.”
Buttigieg said he believes that the Democratic party must be the party that defends the freedom of Americans from dishonest banking practices, student debt and politically-motivated restrictions on women’s health care.
“I am asking you to join me as I run for chair of the Democratic party, and together we will write a new turnaround story,” Buttigieg said.
“South Bend turned around because we listened to each other, we faced our problems and we got back to basics, delivering results on the ground day by day. That’s what I want to do as chair of the Democratic party,” he said.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay, is one of the nation’s youngest big-city mayors. He faces strong competition for the leadership post from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. The leadership position will be decided at the DNC’s winter meeting on March 1.
Buttigieg has a fan in state Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.
“He is a great mayor, a terrific guy. I think he would do a great job,” Pelath said. “I think he would be a breath of fresh air in many ways.”
Buttigieg strongly expressed that much depends on getting things right in the Democratic party.
“This is personal for me,” he said. “I didn’t just see Afghanistan on the news; I lived it driving and guarding vehicles outside the wire. I could be ordered back to war by a reckless president.”
Buttigieg has pledged to resign as mayor of South Bend if he elected DNC chair.
Logan Macaluso is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.