Orange County School of the Arts

Who is Mayor Pete Buttigieg?

The Democratic National Committee chair election this year was an especially contentious one. The Democrats lost an election they were expected to win, all while being embroiled in scandals about nominees, emails, and leaked debate questions, to name a few.

The candidates for chair came from a wide range of backgrounds– there are activists, lawyers, and cabinet members between the seven candidates.

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Mayor Buttigieg in a ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Photo Credit: NY Times

Though former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is now the DNC Chair, one of the other candidates could be an up and coming Democrat to keep your eyes on.

Mayor Buttigieg is currently mayor of South Bend, Ind., where he grew up. His high school and college career were dotted with political-related awards and activities, like the United States Senate Youth Program or leading the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard, he studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Shortly after winning election in 2011, Mayor Buttigieg was named Mayor of the Year in 2013, tying with the then-New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the list created by In 2013, Mayor Buttigieg, a reserve naval intelligence officer, was deployed to Afghanistan. He was also named an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow in 2014. Then 2015 came with more awards and success, like winning reelection and earning a John F. Kennedy New Frontier Fenn Award.

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Photo credit: Daily Mail

In the summer that year, Mayor Buttigieg came out as gay in an editorial, a move that was perhaps politically risky in a red state.

It may seem strange that a red state mayor would be considered for one of the important political offices in the coming years. But the mayor offers a variety of credentials that help–maybe that’s why former presidential candidate Martin O’Malley and former governor (as well as esteemed vocalist) Howard Dean have voiced their support for him.

Though Buttigieg lost the race, he said that if elected as chair, he would focus on making the Democrats focus on unifying ideas, instead of solely responding to Republican attacks. Buttigieg is only 35, which he argues would make the party more accessible to millennials, a targeted age group.

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Secretary Perez, who is now DNC chair. Photo credit: MIC

At the DNC chair debate, the Mayor noted that his story about hunting with his boyfriend’s father was a 2017 sentence.” Perhaps another “2017 sentence” will be referring to Buttigieg’s political success.