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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 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 (BA), Oxford University (BA)
  • Date candidacy announced: April 14
  • Previous roles: Mayor. Began service in U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Previously worked for McKinsey & Company.

Buttigieg's stance on key issues

  • College costs: Concerned about soaring student debt. 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. Believes climate change is a national security threat and supports government-subsidized solar panels.
  • Capitalism: Says he is a capitalist, but democracy is "more important."
  • Guns: Member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, he 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 to avoid eliminating private insurance.
    • Introduced a $300 billion plan to increase mental health and addiction support by increasing access.
  • 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: Said on "Meet the Press" that abortion is a "question that is almost unknowable ... 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 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 "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 has been criticized for a lack of diversity in his city's police force.

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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