In a USA Today op-ed this morning, long-time Carrboro mayor Lydia Lavelle joined more than fifty other current and former municipal leaders from around the country in endorsing South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Also endorsing Buttigieg is former Chapel Hill mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who was defeated in 2015 and is now clerk of the Orange County Superior Court; and Ian Baltutis, currently seeking his third term as mayor of Burlington. Like Buttigieg, Lavelle and Kleinschmidt are gay, while Baltutis, who became Burlington’s youngest mayor when he was first elected in 2015 at age thirty, is a millennial. (Buttigieg, thirty-seven, is seeking to become the country’s first millennial president.)
The op-ed, written by mayors from Kansas City, Austin, Dayton, and West Sacramento, argues that “Mayor Pete puts practical solutions over partisan ideology. For mayors, politics isn’t a blood sport. While inaction and gridlock are the norm in Washington, mayors don’t have the option to kick the can down the road. Our residents expect electricity when they flip the switch, clean water from their taps and trash picked up regularly. It would be unthinkable for a mayor like Pete to shut down the government because of a petty ideological disagreement.”
In a statement, Lavelle says that she supports “Mayor Pete for president because he is smart and serious, honest and humble. He understands the honor and responsibility of serving as an elected executive. I trust him to look out for all generations, particularly with regard to our challenges around climate change, health care, racial equity, and equality.”
Buttigieg has been the mayor of South Bend for eight years. South Bend is considerably smaller, of course, than Newark (where rival Cory Booker was mayor), San Antonio (Julian Castro), and Denver (John Hickenlooper). Hickenlooper has dropped out of the race and is now running for Senate in Colorado. Booker, now a U.S. senator, and Castro, a former secretary of housing and urban development, are both polling well behind Buttigieg.
The two most recent polls of Iowa have Buttigieg in third and fourth place, respectively. With Buttigieg eschewing Medicare for All in favor of an approach that would offer Medicare as an option to those who want it, there is talk about him emerging as a moderate alternative if former Vice President Joe Biden falters.
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