Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
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Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Buttigieg has positioned himself as a moderate and has called for generational change in political leadership. The second-term mayor is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and was a Rhodes scholar.
Harvard College, B.A., 2004; University of Oxford, Rhodes scholar, 2007
January 19, 1982
Chasten Buttigieg
US Navy Reserve, 2009-2017;
Consultant at McKinsey and Co., 2007-2010


Pete Buttigieg Fast Facts
Updated 11:57 AM ET, Thu Dec 29, 2022
Here's a look at the life of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Personal Birth date: January 19, 1982 Birth place: South Bend, Indiana Birth name: Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg Father: Joseph A. Buttigieg, an English professor Mother: Anne Montgomery, a linguist Marriage: Chasten Glezman (2018-present) Children: adopted with Chasten Glezman: twins, Penelope Rose and Joseph August Education: Harvard College, 2004, B.A., History and Literature; University of Oxford, 2007 (Rhodes Scholar) Military service: US Navy Reserves, 2009-2017, Lieutenant Religion: Episcopalian Other Facts He is the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary. Buttigieg can be pronounced "boot-edge-edge," "buddha-judge," "boot-a-judge" or "boo-tuh-judge." Buttigieg's father, Joseph, emigrated to the United States from Malta. Buttigieg roughly translates to "lord of the poultry." Speaks eight languages: English, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari and French. He learned Norwegian to read the works of novelist Erlend Loe in the original language. Plays piano and guitar and has performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. Timeline 2007-2010 - Consultant at McKinsey & Company in Chicago. January 1, 2012-January 1, 2020 - Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. February 27, 2013 - Releases the Vacant & Abandoned Properties Task Force Report, which calls for 1,000 abandoned houses to be addressed in 1,000 days. The goal is met in September 2015 with over 1,000 homes being demolished or refurbished. February-September 2014 - Deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, as an intelligence officer. June 16, 2015 - Comes out as gay in an essay for the South Bend Tribune. January 5, 2017 - Announces that he is entering the race for Democratic National Committee chair. February 25, 2017 - Drops out of the race for DNC chair minutes before the vote. December 17, 2018 - Announces that he will not seek a third term as mayor of South Bend, Indiana. January 23, 2019 - Announces that he is launching an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid. February 12, 2019 - His memoir, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future," is published. April 14, 2019 - Officially announces he is running for president during a rally in South Bend, Indiana. April 26, 2019 - Buttigieg's presidential campaign reverses its decision to accept donations from registered lobbyists and says it will refund the contributions it has received so far. Campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, in an email to supporters, states that the campaign will send back $30,250 it has received from 39 individuals. June 21, 2019 - Buttigieg skips campaign stops to return to South Bend in the wake of a fatal officer-involved shooting. He says he is "serious about fixing this" during a march protesting the shooting, referring to racial tensions in the city. December 10, 2019 - Buttigieg releases a list of nine clients from his time working at the McKinsey consulting firm. February 3, 2020 - The Iowa Democratic caucuses take place, but the process descends into chaos due to poor planning by the state party, a faulty app that was supposed to calculate results and an overwhelmed call center. On February 29, the Iowa Democratic Party certifies the results from the state's caucuses, with Buttigieg winning the most national delegates, 14 to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' 12 pledged delegates. February 11, 2020 - Sanders wins narrowly over Buttigieg in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with both candidates picking up nine pledged delegates. March 1, 2020 - Following a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary, Buttigieg announces that he is suspending his presidential campaign. March 2, 2020 - Buttigieg endorses former Vice President Joe Biden for president. September 5, 2020 - Buttigieg joins a 15-person advisory board for Biden's presidential transition team. The head of Biden's team, former Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman said in a statement, "We are preparing for this transition amid the backdrop of a global health crisis and struggling economy. This is a transition like no other, and the team being assembled will help Joe Biden meet the urgent challenges facing our country on day one." December 16, 2020 - Biden introduces Buttigieg as his nominee for transportation secretary. February 2, 2021 - The Senate votes to confirm Buttigieg as transportation secretary by a vote of 86-13. August 17, 2021 - Announces that he and his husband Chasten have become first-time parents.


climate crisis
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Buttigieg released a plan in September 2019 that aims to move the US to clean energy and agriculture, shield existing communities and industries from the effects of climate change and lead a global response to the crisis. He calls for the Department of Defense to set up a Climate Watch Floor and would create a new senior climate security role within the department. He aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, pledging to invest $25 billion annually in research by 2025 – a move he compares to the Manhattan Project – and to set a price on carbon, generating money that would be returned to Americans as a dividend. He says his plan would generate 3 million new jobs as the economy transitions to clean energy production. Buttigieg pledges to spend $5 billion annually on grants for rural communities and ensure that new infrastructure “can withstand extreme weather and sea level rise.” He calls for integrating climate change into national security planning. Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also proposed his own plan, which would impose a carbon tax on corporations and polluters and pass on the money raised from that tax to Americans as a dividend. Buttigieg has said he would rejoin the Paris climate accord, the landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. Buttigieg says he wants to ensure the US – “not China” – will lead the climate response globally, and suggests he’d use sanctions to push other countries to adopt carbon-pricing programs. He has also said that while the Paris accord is critical, he would like to hold a “Pittsburgh summit” within his first 100 days as president, where cities would come together to work on curbing emissions. More on Buttigieg’s climate crisis policy
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On the campaign trail, Buttigieg has clearly stated his view that manufacturing jobs are not returning to their previous levels because of factors like automation. In July 2019, he introduced a plan aimed at protecting workers and putting big tech companies firmly in the hot seat. Buttigieg would guarantee the right to join a union for all American workers including gig economy workers – like Uber and Lyft drivers, who are considered independent contractors and not employees of the companies. Buttigieg is no fan of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and has suggested that it caused significant and largely irreversible job loss. He has also focused on the need for the federal government to spur entrepreneurship in underserved communities. He has proposed having the government “triple the number of entrepreneurs from underserved areas – particularly ones of color – within 10 years” by offering grants and incentivizing investment in underserved areas and overhauling credit scoring as a way to open up credit opportunities for traditionally underserved communities. In August 2019, Buttigieg rolled out a proposal to provide $500 million in federal funding for “Regional Innovation Clusters.” Those would allow state and local governments to take the lead on developing economic projects based on the specific needs of individual rural communities through a grant program judged by a panel of entrepreneurs across the country. Buttigieg pledges up to $5 billion to expand apprenticeship networks across the country “to ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American,” including underserved rural areas. Buttigieg seeks to create “Community Renewal visas,” with the aim of attracting high-skilled immigrants with the promise of attaining green cards at the end of three-year residencies in rural communities. Buttigieg also supports raising the federal hourly minimum wage to $15 and passing paid family and medical leave. More on Buttigieg’s economic policy
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Buttigieg – who, along with his husband, Chasten, has student loan debt that combined amounts to six figures – does not support making college tuition-free. He argues that lower- and middle-income families should benefit from tuition-free public college but not the children of the wealthy, or, as he put it once, “even the children of billionaires.” Buttigieg has looked to tie education affordability to his national service plan. The mayor, who himself served in the Navy Reserve, said his administration would provide support and incentives for students who decide to go into a service field before or after college. Buttigieg says he supports charter schools in some instances, but he said in Iowa earlier this year that “for-profit charter schools should not be our vision for the future.” His plan to combat racial inequality in the United States would increase resources to historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions by $25 billion. More on Buttigieg’s education policy
gun violence
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Buttigieg released a plan in August 2019 that would increase federal funding to combat hate and violent extremism, boost federal research into gun violence and work with social media companies to stem incendiary rhetoric online. He would dedicate $1 billion to law enforcement, including increasing the FBI’s field staff, for “sufficient resources to counter the growing tide of white nationalist violence.” Those funds would also be reinvested in Department of Homeland Security efforts to fight extremism, violence and hate. Buttigieg supports universal background checks. He has also backed a nationwide gun licensing system and a ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons. As mayor of South Bend, he’s long had a focus on reducing gun violence. Buttigieg joined the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 1,000 current and former mayors advocating stricter gun laws, in 2013 and supported the South Bend Group Violence Intervention, a program aimed at combating gun violence in the city.Buttigieg often talks about gun laws through a personal lens. As the youngest candidate in the 2020 race, he grew up in an era when school shootings have become common. As a veteran, he has training and experience with weapons. More on Buttigieg’s gun violence policy
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Buttigieg supports what he calls “Medicare for all who want it” – an idea that he says is a pathway to the “Medicare for All” proposal backed by other candidates, which would create a national government health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry. Under Buttigieg’s plan, private health insurance would still exist for consumers. Buttigieg also focuses on health care in his Douglass Plan, aimed at combating inequality for African Americans. He plans to diversify the medical workforce and create “health equity zones” to address health care disparities in certain geographic locations. In August 2019, he proposed a plan to improve health care access in rural communities by waiving visa requirements to attract immigrant doctors, increasing access to telehealth services by expanding high speed internet and creating a new office within the Department of Health and Human Services. Buttigieg plans to reduce maternal mortality rates by funding pre-maternity homes and offering subsidies for housing and transportation. He would also extend Medicaid coverage for one-year postpartum. Currently, Medicaid typically covers only 60 days of postpartum care. In October 2019, Buttigieg released a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs and jump-starting pharmaceutical innovation. The plan, titled “Affordable Medicine for All,” would penalize pharmaceutical companies that raise prices by more than the rate of inflation and by increasing the annual Branded Prescription Drug Fee, a section of the Affordable Care Act that sets an annual fee according to each manufacturer’s share of drug sales that goes to government programs like Medicare Part D and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Buttigieg also released an LGBTQ rights plan that proposes eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, ensuring access to the HIV drug PrEP for all who need it, finding a cure for AIDS and ensuring health insurance providers cover trans-specific medical care. More on Buttigieg’s health care policy
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Buttigieg has said he wants a comprehensive immigration plan, which would include providing a pathway to citizenship for those who received Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants, including people brought to the US as minors. He also calls for addressing the backlogs in the immigration and asylum processes and having “reasonable” security measures at the US-Mexico border. “I don’t have a problem with enhanced border security, perhaps to include fencing,” Buttigieg told PBS in February 2019. He suggested border security cannot be simplified with “just putting up a wall from sea to shining sea.” He has also proposed ending family separation at the border and evaluating practices from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection “to ensure similar humanitarian crises never happen again.” More on Buttigieg’s immigration policy


US tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon
Updated 9:17 AM ET, Fri Feb 3, 2023
The suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon flying over the continental US entered the US airspace “due to force majeure,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday, confirming the airship was from China. “It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course. The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The Chinese side will continue communicating with the US side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure,” the statement added. What is a Force Majeure? "Force Majeure" — which means "greater force" — excuses a party from liability if an unforeseen event, such as a natural catastrophe, prevents it from performing its obligations under the contract. Sources familiar with the matter tell CNN that it appears that the suspected Chinese spy balloon movements appear to rely primarily on the jet stream, allowing Beijing to predict its likely path. China can control the surveillance balloon to an extent, for example by turning on and off the surveillance gear inside of it, the sources said. The fact that China does have some control over the balloon's capabilities is why the US government has raised their concerns with Beijing about it, the sources said. What US officials are saying: The balloon’s surveillance equipment appears to be powered by a solar array, one US official said, which would provide the system with a reliable source of power at high altitude. But the solar array does not appear to be connected to any type of motor that would allow China to steer the balloon, the official added. Pentagon officials said they did not believe the balloon had surveillance or intelligence-gathering capabilities above and beyond Chinese spy satellites in low earth orbit, but unlike satellites that pass rapidly over a location every 90 minutes, a spy balloon can loiter over a spot and gather more of a “pattern of life” of a particular site, the official said. In the past, the US has simply allowed balloons like this to waft away, without taking any action or publicizing their presence over the US, the sources said. It is also not the first time a surveillance balloon has appeared over the United States.   The US official said there were similar incidents with suspected Chinese surveillance balloons over Hawaii and Guam in recent years. On Thursday, a senior defense official said, “Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration.” The US government now believes that it has gotten China's attention about the balloon, and that the matter could be resolved soon, the sources said.  It's hard to imagine a worse warm up for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's critical talks in Beijing, which are expected in the next few days, than news that a suspected Chinese spy balloon is floating merrily across the US. The Pentagon says it's been tracking the balloon — the size of three buses, according to a defense official — for several days but made the decision not to shoot it down. It reasoned that the balloon was wafting well above commercial and military air lanes — and that it was not a huge intelligence threat. This seems a reasonable position since Chinese surveillance satellites with a far greater capacity for espionage are known to hover in space over the US. And officials said it's not the first time the US has tracked one of Beijing's balloons during this and previous administrations. This is hardly a DEFCON-1 situation. But the balloon offers a perfect glimpse into one of the most destructive factors driving the US and China toward confrontation. The politics of the world's most critical geopolitical relationship are so torqued in both countries that any incident can set off a new round of recriminations. That's what Blinken is traveling to Beijing to address.  Washington is already in an uproar. Republicans — always keen to portray President Joe Biden as soft on China, even though he's actually been at least as tough as ex-President Donald Trump — are up in arms over what they are portraying as a violation of US sovereignty. "Information strongly suggests the (Defense) Department failed to act with urgency in responding to this airspace incursion by a high-altitude surveillance balloon. No incursion should be ignored, and should be dealt with appropriately," said Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. House Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy — who has already warned China this week it can't stop him visiting Taiwan if he wants — demanded a briefing about the balloon for the Gang of Eight congressional leaders. Read the full analysis here. China is “aware of reports” of the alleged Chinese balloon hovering over the US and is working to “understand the circumstances and verify the details” of the situation, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning in a press briefing on Friday. “I'd like to stress that before it becomes clear what happened, any deliberate speculation or hyping up would not help handling of the matter,” Mao said.  “China is a responsible country. We act in accordance with international law. We have no intention in violating other countries’ air space," she added. "We hope relevant parties would handle the matter in a cool-handed way.” Mao added that she has no further information to share about US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming visit to China.  What the US has said: The US government has engaged with the Chinese government both through the Chinese Embassy in Washington and the US diplomatic mission in China, according to a senior defense official. The official said Thursday that though the US has decided not to shoot the balloon down, it “will have options to deal with this balloon" if the risk level changes. "We have communicated to [Chinese officials] the seriousness with which we take this issue," said the official. "But we have made clear we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our homeland.” The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Canadian Armed Forces, Canada's Department of National Defence are all tracking the movements of the suspected spy balloon, said a statement from the defense department. NORAD spokesperson Col. Elizabeth Mathias said they are only tracking one balloon at this time, and that NORAD is unaware of any second phenomena.  NORAD is a combined organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for Canada and the continental United States.  “Canadians are safe and Canada is taking steps to ensure the security of its airspace, including the monitoring of a potential second incident,” said the Canadian Department of National Defense. It added that Canada’s intelligence agencies are working with American partners and “continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard Canada’s sensitive information from foreign intelligence threats.” A state-run nationalist website has accused the US of “hyping up China threat” on Friday, a day after reports in Western media of a high-altitude Chinese surveillance balloon flying over the continental US. The most prominent state media outlets, such as news agency Xinhua and state broadcaster CCTV have not reported on the incident. Only state-run nationalist tabloid the Global Times, which cited Western media reporting of the incident — including from CNN — to accuse the US of increasing tensions. “For a period of time, the United States has frequently used the claims of ‘China threat’ and ‘Chinese espionage theory’ to create a Cold War atmosphere and aggravate the tension in China-US relations,” it said on its website. “Cooperation between the US government and the media can incite public panic and suspicion about specific targets to achieve the government’s goals. Despite the pretense of the US and its Allies as “free-thinking” and enlightened democracies, their people are more susceptible to manipulation than any other in the world.” The surveillance balloon has traveled over the northern United States for several days, according to Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. “The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground,” Ryder said. A senior defense official said they were "confident" the balloon belongs to China, adding: “Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration.” US national security officials have constantly warned about Chinese espionage efforts. Limited effectiveness: The US believes Chinese spy satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of offering similar or better intelligence, limiting the value of whatever Beijing can glean from the high-altitude balloon, which is the size of three buses, according to another defense official. Sensitive timing: The balloon’s presence in the US comes at a sensitive moment with Secretary of State Antony Blinken expected to travel to Beijing in the coming days, a significant trip meant to follow up on President Joe Biden’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping last year. Biden has declared China “America’s most consequential geopolitical challenge” and competition between the two major global military powers is intense. Read the full story here. US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the balloon’s movements and requested military options on how to deal with it, according to a senior administration official. Biden took advice not to order the balloon shot down, and the official stressed that it does not pose a military threat, emphasizing the administration acted “immediately” to protect against the collection of sensitive information. The senior defense official mentioned reports from Wednesday about a “ground stop” at Billings Airport in Montana, and the “mobilization of assets, including F-22s.” “The context for that was, it would put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana,” the official said. “So we wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area.” Not shot down: However, it was ultimately the “strong recommendation” of senior military leaders, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, not to shoot it down due to the risk to safety of people on the ground. “Why not shoot it down? We have to do the risk-reward here,” the official said. “So the first question is, does it pose a threat, a physical kinetic threat, to individuals in the United States in the US homeland? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a threat to civilian aviation? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a significantly enhanced threat on the intelligence side? Our best assessment right now is that it does not. So given that profile, we assess the risk of downing it, even if the probability is low in a sparsely populated area of the debris falling and hurting someone or damaging property, that it wasn’t worth it.” Montana is home to fields of underground Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos, one potential target for Chinese espionage.