Buttigieg Covers Multitude of Issues at Large Rally in Arlington

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Morgan Fischer

Buttigieg’s planned town hall turned in a to a rally after such a large turnout.

By Morgan Fischer, Dominion High School

On Sunday, February 23rd, Pete Buttigieg: the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and candidate for 2020 Democratic Presidential nominee, traveled to Arlington, VA to speak to Virginians before Super Tuesday on March 3rd. The event, which took place at Washington-Liberty High School’s football field, was initially advertised as a town hall, only to be upgraded to a rally after attendance to the event skyrocketed. According to the Buttigieg campaign, more than 8,800 people attended, with many more watching from the fence outside of the field. 

Congressman Don Beyer, the U.S. Representative for the 8th District of Virginia, which includes Arlington, spoke before Buttigieg came out. He expressed his support as he was the first member for Congress to endorse Butigieg in August of 2019. 

Several other campaign staffers and volunteers for the Buttigieg campaign spoke before Buttigieg was introduced. They shared why they chose to support Pete, including his stance on LGBTQ issues, giving them hope for politics, connecting people across the political spectrum, and a message to inclusion and acceptance. 

Pete Buttigieg was then introduced and the energy was electric, the whole field erupted in cheers. Buttigeieg started his speech with strong imagery,as he asked his supporters to imagine his campaign as, “How it is going to feel that first time the sun comes over the Potomac and Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States.” Buttigieg also talked about the impeachment of President Trump, telling the audience that they are the jurors in the next election, rather than the likes of Mitch McConnell, as he said later, “Send Mitch McConnell packing.” 

How it is going to feel that first time the sun comes over the Potomac and Donald Trump is no longer the President of the United States”

— Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg then turned his focus to Bernie Sanders, who is considered to be the front runner for the Democratic nominee winning in Nevada and New Hampshire, with Buttigieg trailing him with a win in Iowa. Buttigieg criticized Bernie for fighting political battles through social media, which Buttigieg sees as polarizing to many Americans. In contrast to that message, Buttigieg emphasized the importance of reaching out to voters on all sides of the aisle. He called out to “former republicans” and independents to join him. 

Buttigieg then began talking about healthcare and his healthcare plan, which is called: “Medicare for All Who Want It”. He emphasized giving Americans the freedom to decide how they receive healthcare, while still providing an affordable option. Buttigieg also talked about how Americans should have access to healthcare that covers mental health and substance abuse issues. Buttigieg shared a conversation that he had with an 11-year-old about drug pricing as they needed insulin to live, emphasizing that there should be no such thing as an unaffordable prescription. 

The economy was the next topic that Buttigieg covered, as he criticized President Trump’s actions in terms of the economy, including measuring the success of the economy by the Dow Jones, emphasizing that it is not an accurate measurement and there are still many Americans struggling in poverty. He spoke about how many Americans are forced to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, as he said, “One job is enough, with a college degree or not”. He criticized actions such as tax cuts for large corporations and having an economy that “works for us”. 

Buttigieg also spoke on many issues that relate to young people, such as education. He said, “We need a secretary of education who believes in public education,” referencing Betsy DeVos, who has been criticized for her stance on public education. He emphasized the importance of listening to young people who cannot vote yet and the power that young people hold. 

Buttigieg praised student activism, with organizations such as March for Our Lives with the issue of gun control. He shared a story of a young girl who asked for a bulletproof backpack for Christmas, and how the 2nd amendment should not be twisted to allow threats like this exist to schools and students. 

He then talked about student activism in the form of Climate Change with young people, like Great Thunberg, who helped to change this conversation despite not being able to vote, and how it is the job of parents and grandparents to listen to these students, with the message, “don’t let this young person down.” 

As a gay man growing up in the midwest, Buttigieg emphasized the importance of equality and the big changes that he plans to make, such as: passing the equality act. He said, “I’m standing in front of you today, happily married and running for president.” 

This story was originally published on DHS Press on February 25, 2020.