The 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan war veteran is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend – a left-leaning bubble in America’s so-called “Rust Belt” region, where the decline of industries such as steel and automobile manufacturing has hurt local economies.
AFP
Gay mayor launches US presidential bid
(Agence France-Presse) - April 16, 2019 - 12:00am

SOUTH BEND – Pete Buttigieg, the gay, liberal mayor of a small American city in the conservative bastion of Indiana, officially launched his presidential bid on Sunday, joining a crowded field of Democrats vying for their party’s nomination in 2020.

The 37-year-old Rhodes scholar and Afghanistan war veteran is the two-term mayor of his hometown of South Bend – a left-leaning bubble in America’s so-called “Rust Belt” region, where the decline of industries such as steel and automobile manufacturing has hurt local economies.

Voters in states such as Michigan and Wisconsin helped hand Republican US President Donald Trump his victory in the 2016 election.

Buttigieg, who is credited with helping turn South Bend around, has couched himself as a can-do reformer who can speak to voters across the political spectrum.

“Here you have this moment, probably the only moment in American history, where it just might make sense for somebody my age, coming from experience in the industrial Midwest, non-federal, different background, bringing something that will actually help Americans,” Buttigieg told NBC’s Meet The Press last weekend.

A long line of supporters arrived at a former assembly plant turned high-tech hub in South Bend for the official campaign launch, which was expected to give Buttigieg’s surprisingly strong campaign an additional boost.

So many people showed up for the event that a large crowd was left outside in the rain to watch on a giant screen.

“He represents a new generation of Democratic leadership. We love his vision,” said Jenn Watts, 35, while her three-year-old daughter sat on her shoulders.

PETE BUTTIGIEG
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