MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (KWWL) – Announcing his candidacy for president Sunday, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg spent two days in Iowa stopping at one point at a home in Marshalltown, Iowa.
“I thought we were going to fit in the living room,” joked Mayor Buttigieg during his speech.
People in the crowd observed what they see as unique about Buttigieg.
“I see him as a little bit Republican, a little bit Democrat,” said Deidre Taylor, a former Marine in the crowd.
“He speaks to my generation, its time for a new voice and a positive voice,” said Melissa Wagner, who brought her son Nathan to hear Buttigieg speak.
Buttigieg spoke on a broad array of topics.
“There are also threats from cybersecurity, you can’t put up a wall for cybersecurity. There’s threats from our climate. I don’t need to lecture Marshalltown on what’s at stake if we experience more extreme weather,” said Buttigieg.
He also noted issues with healthcare for vets and the general public.
“To me, it’s not about doing a favor to veterans, it’s about keeping a promise,” Buttigieg answered to a question from Taylor. “If you don’t have insurance you’re paying too much for healthcare, if you do have insurance you’re paying too much for healthcare because our system is so inefficient.”
The midwestern mayor also weighed in on transparency to our reporter following the event.
“We should have an open data policy, we should make sure information, especially given the power of the internet to do this, is published widely. Needless to say, in the context of the corruption and criminal and other investigations related to the president and people connected to him, as much as is responsibly possible, that should be made available to the Congress and the public,” said Buttigieg.
On the edges of the event was a spectacle, as three protestors dressed as the devil, Jesus, and a Buttigieg caricature made Biblical references such as “Sodom and Gomorrah,” a scene Buttigieg also experienced in Fort Dodge, Iowa on Tuesday.
“It shouldn’t distract from him because he knows who he is and what he believes in,” said Nathan Wagner.
The openly-gay mayor said it’s a measure of success.
“The next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or have to talk over a little noise at an event. It may be irritating but its part of the landscape,” said Buttigieg.
His recent rise in popularity seems to stem from a CNN town hall, in which he criticized Vice President Mike Pence for using religion as a backing for anti-gay policies.
Buttigieg’s campaign has raised more than $7 million since forming his exploratory committee in January, which will qualify him for the first Democratic debates in June.
You can listen to a portion of Buttigieg’s speech here.