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Pete Buttigieg answers Duke student’s question at town hall

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Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate for U.S. president. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

At a Fox News town hall May 19, sophomore Matt Long got a chance to ask Mayor Pete Buttigieg how his policies differentiate him from other Democratic Party presidential candidates.

“In a party that rightly values diversity of candidates, how will your policies stand out and win the nomination?” Long inquired. Buttigeg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is one of 23 Democrats vying to be the Democratic Party nominee in the 2020 presidential election. 

In an interview with VICE News, Buttigieg argued against laying out lots of specific policy proposals–making Long’s question a pressing one.

As someone who lives in the battleground state, Long decided to attend the town hall in Claremont, N.H., because he did not want to “waste the incredible access [he has] to candidates.”

“I have been interested in Buttigieg since my friend who is from South Bend told me about his campaign,” Long wrote in an email. “I wanted to see what the candidate was like in person, and I was fortunate enough to be allowed to ask him a question during the town hall.”

Buttigieg replied to Long’s question by explaining that the Democratic Party values diversity and wants to ensure the United States’ leaders reflect the population of the country they lead. He explained that he follows such a goal as mayor and with his own campaign team.

The South Bend mayor also noted that Long’s question does not just ask about the composition of Buttigieg’s team but also looks to his policies. Buttigieg explained that he wants to ensure that he has “an inclusive set of policies that are going to serve everybody well.”

“For example, we know just by the numbers that if you are a person of color in this country, in many ways, you might as well be living in a different country,” he said.

Buttigieg pointed to the fact that black women are three times more likely to die due to maternal complications than white women. The discrepancy isn’t due to chance, he explained.

“That isn’t going to get fixed without policies that specifically pay attention to how those racial inequities got there, in health but also in areas like housing, like employment and of course the criminal justice system that frankly does not treat everyone the same,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg also briefly mentioned other groups his agenda will protect, such as members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, disabled people and women. 

“Just about every one of us in some way belongs to a group that could be marginalized if we don’t have the right kind of policies to lift all of us up, and those are the kinds of policies we’re going to be talking about throughout this campaign,” Buttigieg said.

Long wrote that he “appreciated and was satisfied” with Buttigieg’s answer because the Democratic candidate cited powerful examples in articulating his vision of addressing inequalities and injustices against marginalized groups in the United States. 

His opinion on the South Bend mayor remained unchanged after the town hall. Long added that Buttigieg is “as genuine and well spoken in person as he is on the news” and that the candidate’s policies and composure impressed him.

To Long, speaking to Buttigieg in person at the town hall humanized the mayor.

“I thought the town hall was well moderated by Chris Wallace, and there was a good variety of questions,” Long wrote. “I think, overall, Mayor Pete did a great job in explaining his positions and appealing to the American people.”

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