Democrat candidate for president Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to meet area residents 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Cottonwood Pavilion, 1309 W. Ferguson in Shenandoah.

Buttigieg is in his eighth and final year as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Pete was first elected mayor in 2011 at 29 years old and re-elected in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote.

He is one of more than 20 Democrats running for the position.

Pete served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and took an unpaid seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan. For his counterterrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

The health care system today is both unjust and inefficient. For the first time since World War I, life expectancy is falling. If you’re uninsured, you’re paying too much for health care. If you’re insured, you’re still paying too much. This burdens hard-working families, especially in communities of color, the most. Other developed countries provide universal coverage for less than what Americans currently pay — and with better results. The American people should not have to settle for less.

Pete supports achieving Medicare for All through a pathway that helps improve people’s lives along the way while allowing the economy to adjust. He calls this “Medicare for All Who Want It.”

This plan makes a Medicare-type public option available on the exchange and invites people to buy into it: if corporate insurers don’t lower costs to deliver something dramatically better than what is available today, competition will create the glide path toward Medicare for All.

It is our duty to take care of our veterans in honor of their service and sacrifice, and that begins by providing them excellent health care. As a war veteran, Pete understands the importance of improving our VA health care system by increasing access to and quality of care, rejecting privatization of the VA, lowering wait times for all services, ending harmful staff shortages, and enhancing the disability claims system to make it easier for veterans to navigate.

He also believes that we must invest heavily in treating veteran mental health — one of the most pressing issues facing veterans and their families today — and supporting veterans as they reintegrate back into our communities as our fellow citizens, friends, neighbors, and family.

Infrastructure is central to the well-being of communities and the ability of individuals and families to live, work, and thrive. Today, our infrastructure is crumbling, and communities of color are disproportionately hurt by decades of neglect in neighborhoods and by unhealthy water systems. Investments in infrastructure can unlock good jobs, drive economic growth, and most importantly, empower communities to better access recreation, work, and health — connecting people to opportunity and to one another. 

For lower-income families, we must make public college truly debt-free. We can do this through a state-federal partnership that makes public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes — combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.

A Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a graduate of Harvard University, he lives with his husband Chasten in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up, with their two rescue dogs, Truman and Buddy.

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