Buttigieg campaigns in Pella

Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses voters at Tamory Hall in Pella on Jan. 20.

Over 300 voters packed Tamory Hall in Pella to hear from Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg before the Iowa caucuses in February.

According to Buttigieg’s campaign, Pella saw its largest turnout for any candidate event this caucus cycle on Jan. 20, with a total of 313 attendees. This was the candidate’s second stop in Marion County; he visited Knoxville on Dec. 29 with 380 attendees.

Buttigieg was introduced by Congressman Dave Loebsack, who praised the South Bend, Indiana mayor for his knowledge and attention to the issues currently facing the country. Loebsack announced his endorsement of Buttigieg earlier this month.

“Here’s a guy who knows the issues, who’s studied the issues, who knows how to talk to people who aren’t just Democrats,” says Loebsack. “Pete will look you in the eye and take the time to listen to you, whether you agree with him or not.”

Loebsack went on to say he believes Buttigieg is the only candidate who can get the country “out of the ditch that was dug by Donald Trump” and solve healthcare and gun violence issues, among others.

“Pete is the right person at the right time, because he is a unifier, and he will listen to the other side, and he will articulate what the problems are,” says Loebsack. “He’ll understand those problems, and eventually, he will know how to get a solution to those problems that are facing this country.”

Buttigieg says his campaign focuses on the people, citing gun violence, climate change, affordable healthcare and mental health as his top priorities if elected to the White House.

“These are the issues that are deeply personal when you break them down,” says Buttigieg. “And that’s what’s on the line for me. These are the things I think we can achieve.”

Buttigieg says he will always remember the faces of children he’s met along the campaign trail who have suffered from gun violence.

“I am insisting that we cannot allow the second amendment to be twisted into an excuse to do nothing at all on gun violence when we know Democrats, Republicans, Independents, gun owners alike know that we at least ought to be doing background checks, red flag laws and other measures to protect our children in our communities,” says Buttigieg.

The candidate says he recognizes the earth is almost “at the point of no return” when it comes to climate change. In order to address the issue, Buttigieg says American farmers could be at the heart of climate solutions.

“We already know that if we got it right, then farming could actually be driving some of the solutions to take carbon out of the atmosphere and create a lot of jobs,” says Buttigieg.

Buttigieg, who would be the youngest President in history if elected, was questioned about his campaign values, healthcare policies, veteran care, climate change and how he plans to unite the country. Buttigieg says the country’s unification is dependent on a president who truly cares and works for the people.

“We need to make sure that Americans, here and around Iowa and in this country, who are already equipped with the moral and mental energy to look for better solutions, have a president that’s working for them,” says Buttigieg. “I believe the presidency has a purpose, and that the purpose of the presidency is not to glorify the occupant of the office. It is not the glorification of the president that matters, it is the empowerment and the unification of the American people. That is how I seek to use the presidency.”

Emily Hawk can be reached at ehawk@pellachronicle.com or by calling the newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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