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Pete Buttigieg on the issues, in under 500 words

Pete Buttigieg.
Pete Buttigieg. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

If elected, Pete Buttigieg — the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana mayor — would be the youngest U.S. president ever. He also would be the first openly gay president in the nation's history.

Key facts

  • Age: 37
  • Born: South Bend
  • Undergraduate: Harvard University, Oxford University
  • Date candidacy announced: April 14
  • Previous roles: Mayor. Began service in U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Worked for McKinsey & Company.

Stance on key issues

  • College costs: Says college is too expensive for "too many people." He supports expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that clears loans in exchange for public service.
  • Climate change: Supports the Paris climate agreement and Green New Deal. Wants net-zero emissions by 2050, double clean electricity by 2025, zero emissions in electricity generation by 2035, and net-zero emissions from industrial vehicles by 2040.
    • Believes climate change is a national security threat and supports government-subsidized solar panels.
    • Wants to create a Disaster Commission to oversee state, local, and volunteer organizations involved in natural disaster response.
  • Guns: Member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and supports universal background checks and banning guns in schools.
  • Health care: Released a plan to expand Medicare coverage and keep private health insurance plans. Also wants to tackle how to manage surprise billing and introduce an out-of-pocket spending cap for Medicare.
  • Immigration: Supports providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
  • Discrimination: Supports updating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to apply non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community.
  • Abortion: Has considered codifying Roe v. Wade, per AP. If elected, he would repeal the Hyde Amendment.
  • Supreme Court: Proposed a 15-justice court with 5 Democratic appointees, 5 Republicans and 5 selected by agreement of the other justices.
  • Electoral college: Supports abolishing it.
  • Vaccines: Initially said he believes in personal exemptions to vaccines when there is no public health crisis. Following criticism, his campaign walked the position back.
  • Foreign policy: Wouldn't move the U.S. embassy in Israel back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
  • National service programs: Wants new national service programs with a network of 1 million members by 2026.
  • Gig economy: Plans to protect gig-economy workers.
  • The Douglass Plan: A series of reforms aimed at the "dismantling of racist structures and systems."

Key criticisms

  • Accepted donations from lobbyists: After criticism, Buttigieg announced he would return donations he received.
  • Police recordings: Buttigieg demoted the South Bend police chief and fired the police communications director for illegally recording officers' calls that allegedly revealed racist comments.
  • Police diversity: Suspended campaign to address a fatal shooting in South Bend of a black man by a white police officer. He received criticism for the lack of diversity in his city's police force.

1 fun thing

  • Buttigieg speaks 8 languages: English, Dari, Norwegian, Italian, French, Maltese, Arabic, and Spanish.

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