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Pete Buttigieg on the issues, in under 500 words

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

If elected, Pete Buttigieg — the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana — 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, Indiana
  • Undergraduate: Harvard University (BA), Oxford University (BA)
  • Date candidacy announced: Announced April 14 in South Bend
  • Previous roles: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Began service in U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Previously worked for McKinsey & Company

Buttigieg's stance on key issues

  • College costs: Has concerns about soaring student debt and believes 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. He thinks climate change is a national security threat and is supportive of government-subsidized solar panels.
  • Capitalism: Says he is a capitalist, but democracy is "more important" than capitalism: "If you want to see what happens when you have capitalism without democracy, you can see it very clearly in Russia."
  • Guns: He is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and supports universal background checks and banning guns in schools.
  • Health care: Supports single-payer health care, but wants to transition to the model via an all-payer rate-setting, which would not eliminate private insurance companies.
  • Immigration: Buttigieg supports providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
  • Discrimination: Supports updating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly apply non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community.
  • Abortion: Said on Meet the Press that abortion is a "question that is almost unknowable ... a moral question that is not going to be settled by science. So the best way for it to be settled in practice is by the person who actually faces the choice."
  • Supreme Court: Proposed having a 15-justice court with 5 Democratic appointees, 5 Republican appointees and 5 selected by agreement of the other 10 justices.
  • Electoral college: Supports abolishing it.
  • Vaccines: Initially said he believes in personal/religious exemptions to vaccines when there is no public health crisis. After criticism on Twitter, his campaign reeled back: "There is no evidence that vaccines are unsafe, and he believes children should be immunized to protect their health."
  • Foreign policy: If elected, he wouldn't move the U.S. embassy in Israel back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Key criticisms

  • Accepted donations from lobbyists: After criticism for accepting money from powerful Washington lobbyists, Buttigieg backed off and announced he would return donations he received.
  • Police recordings: Buttigieg demoted his South Bend police chief and fired the police communications director for illegally recording police officers' phone calls that allegedly revealed officers making racist comments.

1 fun thing

  • Buttigieg was a Rhodes Scholar and speaks multiple languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Maltese, Arabic and Dari.

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