Pete Buttigieg hosts Iowa State town hall

Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg hosted a town hall Jan. 13 at the Memorial Union. He discussed climate change and the situation with Iran, among other issues.

Mallory Tope

Pete Buttigieg hosted a town hall late Monday at the Memorial Union.

Since Buttigieg’s last visit to the Iowa State campus in October 2019, Buttigieg has seen a polling increase and an increase in voter interest.  

About 792 people attended the town hall, said Julie Kieffer, director of Iowa State conference planning and management. 

The line of supporters extended through the halls of the Memorial Union to see Buttigieg ahead of the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3. 

Among those who came to the town hall were dedicated supporters and those trying to narrow down their candidate choices.

“Most people these days don’t have time to do research about candidates; it is easier to go listen to them speak,” said Benjamin Schwake, a graduate student in political science.

Some voters said they hoped Buttigieg would talk about his policies, but some said they wanted him to talk about current issues, such as the economy and Iran. 

“I hope Buttigieg discusses his ideas and solution to de-escalate the Iran situation,” said Sam Fuller, graduate student in political science. 

The event kicked off with singer and actress Mandy Moore introducing Buttigieg.

“This is not a TV show or a movie; this is our reality, and the reality is that the country is in crisis,” Moore said. 

Buttigieg talked about his struggles as a candidate in the first few months of his campaign. He said his hardest struggle was trying to get his name known in Iowa.

Buttigieg asked potential voters to think about how it will feel the day after the 2020 election, how the country will look and how much “more divided” it will be than before the election.

“[The] presidency is for the unification and empowerment of the people,” Buttigieg said.  

Buttigieg said he plans on using shared American values as a road map on how to get things done if elected as president. 

The former South Bend, Ind. mayor spoke of values he said he could use to unite the country, such as combating climate change, religion, work and democracy. 

Protecting the country’s future begins with national security and confronting climate change, Buttigieg said. He added that religion should not be used as a reason to discriminate.

“God does not belong to an American [political] party,” Buttigieg said. 

Buttigieg said the “scientific deadline” for changing the path of climate change is 2023. 

“The political deadline is 2020; there cannot be a president that does not believe in climate change,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg opened the floor to those attending the event to ask questions after giving an abbreviated stump speech.

Among the issues Buttigieg was asked to discuss were education, climate change, the future of infrastructure in America, the violence faced by transgender people and the current situation with Iran. 

“The time has come to step up and solve health care and Medicare,” Buttigieg said. “One way or another, there will be no such thing as uninsured Americans.” 

Buttigieg spoke on the situation with Iran. 

“If I were commander in chief, I [would] ensure that I would come away from wars and not go closer to war, whether it is with Iran or any place where conflict resides,” Buttigieg said. 

With 21 days until caucus, Buttigieg tried to push voters to caucus. 

Buttigieg will participate in the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night in Des Moines. Top candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer will also attend the debate.

“2020 is the year to act on issues where billions of lives are on the line,” Buttigieg said.