A New Call to Service

A New Call to Service

KRISTIE ARLT: Hello, Sioux City! Whoo! So, I’m Kristie Miller-Arlt. I’m the Executive Director of Big Brothers
Big Sisters, as you just heard. And I love it when candidates come to our
state. It’s so fun, and I love it even more when
they come to Sioux City because we are the best city in the state of Iowa. [cheers]
Just a real quick story about Iowa and how people love it. I was just in North Carolina at the National
Conference for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. So there’s 250 agencies. A thousand people just like me get together
in a few rooms to talk about how we can serve kids across the country. And when I checked in, the nice lady took
my ID, and she said, I – where are you from? I said Iowa. And says, where is Iowa? And I’m like, it’s the heartland. I’m like, it’s right in the middle of
the country. And she says, isn’t that Indiana? Today Iowa trumps Indiana. Sorry Mary Pete (sp). Sorry (Inaudible). So, anyway, she did say, that’s also where
all the political people go. And I said yes, that’s where – we invite
them in. We love having them. So as I said, it’s a pleasure to be here
today. I’m also excited because – I think I stopped
counting at six – I have six bigs that are mentors for Big Brothers Big Sisters in the
audience today. I’m sure there are more. So, thank you. When I look at Sioux City – yeah, give them
a round of applause. Wonderful to see them. [applause]
When I look at this crowd there are so many familiar faces. We are a large small town, but this town knows
service. We come together in times of need. We come together to support our not-for-profits. So when I heard that Mayor Pete was coming
to town to talk about national service, I said, sign me up. And then they said, will you talk? Okay. Will you introduce him? Ohhh, all right. I’m glad to do it because when I first started
one year ago at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I’m not embellishing, we had $2,500.00
in the bank, $3,500.00 in our savings, and we were down staff. So you walk into the agency and you see on
the board you have children waiting for services. You have children waiting for positive role
models right here in our community. these are at-risk children that need our help. I thought, I’ve got to raise some money
for this organization. This great staff that I had in place, they
were busy doing their jobs serving the hundreds of kids that we are already serving. Who’s going to recruit? Who’s going to go out to the community and
ask for help? Who’s going to say, we need you to be a
mentor? We didn’t have anybody until AmeriCorps
happened to us. We, for one year, had Heather. She was our AmeriCorps volunteer, and did
she recruit. We brought our waiting list down. We’re serving more kids. And I look back now as I was preparing for
today, I don’t know how we would have done it without the help of AmeriCorps. We need more service organizations to come
into our community and volunteer and to organize. And they should get paid. Not by us, but by the federal government. And I think Mayor Pete’s plan is solid. I’m excited to hear more about it. And I hope you are, too. This community has over a hun – I just saw
my fourth-grade teacher! [cheers]
Hi, Mrs. Snakenburg (sp). Oh! And I have to say Mary Madsen (sp) is here,
too. She wasn’t my teacher, but she’s a beloved
teacher in this community, Mary Madsen. So. Sorry. I get distracted. Squirrel! So as I was saying, I want to thank this community
for showing up today. Keep showing up. Keep volunteering. Keep demanding that Iowa is on the map. Keep demanding from our candidates that Sioux
City be recognized. We’re an important community, we’re a
hard-working community, and I appreciate each and every one of you. We’ll talk about service. Our next speaker knows a thing or two about
service. So check off the list. He serves as Mayor of South Bend. He served as a lieutenant. He is an Afghanistan veteran, right? [applause]
Yes. And he’s also a Rhodes Scholar. Yes. It’s my pleasure to welcome to Sioux City
Mayor Pete Butigieg. [music/crowd]
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Thank you! Thank you. Thank you so much! Thank you. Hello, Sioux City. [crowd]
Thanks for giving me the warm – and I do mean warm – welcome. It makes me feel right at home. And thanks so much to North High School for
hosting us. A big thank you to JD Scholten. I’m not sure what his plans are, but I know
that Washington could use a few more people like him. Just putting that out there. Thanks to Dr. Joshua Merchant, President of
Buena Vista University. Thank you to Kristie for your introduction
and for your work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Mentoring works. It is one of the best things you can do to
make your community better. We set up – one of the first things we did
in South Bend was set out to double the number of mentors that we had in our community. It makes a huge difference and it lasts a
lifetime, so thanks for what you’ve done to build up that organization and those service
opportunities. [applause]
So, my name is Pete Buttigieg. Around South Bend most people just call me
Mayor Pete. I’m running for President. And I want to tell you –
[cheers] I want to tell you a little bit about what
I believe, why I think we need something completely different, and what that has to do with service
on the eve of the Fourth of July. Part of why I’m running is because of the
serious – seriousness of the moment we’re living in. I think even now it’s possible that we are
underreacting. Because what’s happening right now is more
than just a single presidency. It is the beginning of a new era. And it has not yet been decided whether that
era will be enlightened or whether it will be ugly. That’s going to be up to us. And I think at a moment like that it calls
for a different kind of leadership. It calls for a different kind of message. And I’m here to make a case that there is
no going back. It’s something I learned in my own home
town, an industrial midwestern city, that found a way to a different future and stands
as living proof that there is no such thing as an honest politics built around the word
“again.” You just got to look forward. That’s South Bend’s story. And I think we’ve got to remember that looking
at 2020 because I think it’s probably fair to say most of us here are Democrats. [cheers]
But I travel to some places where people have trouble believing that Trump voters exist. And I think those of us who may be Democrats
or Democrat leaning independence or Republicans of conscience –
[laughter/applause] You know, we don’t support this President,
but we know people who do. Trump voters are not an exotic species, right? In our part of the country, they are people
we talk to all the time. They get that look in their eyes. And you realize they – they’re going to
vote that way. And the reason it’s so important to think
about that is that this President could win again. He is deservedly unpopular, but he could win
again. And I think he wins again if we look like
we’re offering more of the same. I think the way he wins again is if we look
like we’re the defenders of a system that hasn’t worked. And what that means is, surprisingly, the
riskiest thing we could do is try so hard to play it safe that we continue to walk down
an establishment path that has Americans believing that we’re not speaking to them. Which is why we’ve got to do something different. A President like the one we’ve got now does
not get within cheating distance of the Oval Office unless something is wrong in our economy
and in our politics. We’ve got to demonstrate that we get that,
and we’re going to answer those changes that are accelerating in our time. Make sure they work for us instead of the
other way around. We’ve got to make life more secure in this
country because countries are like people. We are at our worst when we are insecure. So we’ve got to make sure we’re speaking
to those basic needs folks have, and that means coming up with something completely
different. And that’s where I come in. See, what could be more different from this
President – [applause]
Than a guy like me? You know, laid back, middle class, millennial
mayor from the industrial Midwest. It’s not traditional, but I think a mayor
offers something unique at a time when we need to get Washington to start looking more
like our best-run cities instead of the other way around. And I think it also makes sense to put forward
somebody who has confronted the challenges facing diverse, low-income, and struggling
communities in the heartland. I also think it’s not the worst idea to
send somebody in who represents a new generation of leadership in our country. [applause]
I belong to a generation that is the most diverse yet in American history and has a
lot on the line in our future. I came home from high school one day and saw
the Columbine shootings on TV. Became part of what is now the – the first
school-shooting generation. And the generation that’s going to be dealing
with climate change for the majority of our adult lives. We’re the generation that if nothing changes
would be the first in American history to earn less than our parents. So we’ve got to make sure things change
and things change quick. My goal is that we make decisions in 2020,
2021, 2022, that will set us up well for 2055. That’s the year that, God willing, I will
come to the current age of the current President. And I want to be able to look back on where
we are right now and say that these were the years when we changed the channel in American
politics away from that show that’s going on to something completely different. Now in order to do that –
[applause] In order to do that well, we’ve got to anchor
everything we have to say in our deepest values. More of a crisis we’re in, the more we’ve
got to fall back on the values that motivate us. That’s why, as those signs say, which I
love, freedom, security, and democracy is our answer to those who say Democrats don’t
know how to put our values on a bumper sticker. Sure we do. And those are our values. And don’t let anybody tell you those are
conservative values, they are American values. [cheers/applause]
But we’ve got to help people see the big picture around freedom. That there’s more to freedom than just freedom
from a regulation or a tax somewhere. That it’s about freedom to. Freedom to live a life of meaning. Freedom to live a life of your choosing. That’s why healthcare is freedom because
you’re not free if you’re afraid to go start a small business because that would
mean leaving your old job, and that would mean losing your healthcare. Healthcare is absolutely part of American
freedom. And so, by the way, is reproductive healthcare,
for women who shouldn’t be ordered what to do by a governor. [cheers/applause]
I think freedom comes by way of organizing, which is why we ought to support organized
labor in lifting living standards for the American people. [applause]
And freedom comes by way of education. Which is why the first President – one of
the first things the new President has got to do – one of the first things I will do
– in the Oval Office is appoint a Secretary of Education who believes in public education. [cheers]
So, don’t let them tell you freedom is a conservative value. It’s an American value that has progressive
implications. And the same thing is true about security. By the way, do we have any veterans in the
house? All right. [applause]
Thank you for serving. I’ve studied a few languages, and I’m
pretty sure I just – one of those languages I learned how to speak a little bit is Marine. And I heard a little bit of a strong Marine
accent from that side of the room. So thanks to everybody who served. And, you know, when you serve, when you go
into a conflict zone with a flag on your shoulder, it’s not a Republican flag or a Democrat
flag. It is an American flag signifying, among other
things, the idea that you can criticize your own leadership and no one will question your
loyalty to the Republic for which it stands. [cheers/applause]
So, on that note, I feel like I’ve got to say something about this parade that’s going
on in Washington tomorrow. I love the Fourth of July. And I’m a mayor, so of course I love a good
parade. In fact, I’ll be in the Storm Lake parade
tomorrow. I don’t know if anybody else here is going
to that, but I’m excited to see that for myself. But, this business of diverting money and
military assets to use them as a kind of prop, to prop up a presidential ego, is not reflecting
well on our country. One of the reasons I joined the military was
to do my small part in order to make sure my country that I live in was not the kind
of place where the fragile ego of a strongman leader made it necessary for him to feel like
he had to roll tanks down the streets of the capitol city. [cheers/applause]
It’s not a show of strength, it’s a show of insecurity. Think about this. Think about the strongest, toughest person
that you know. picture that person. I bet you it’s not the kind of person who
goes around talking about how strong and tough they are. And every time the President has our country
looking like the chest-thumping loudmouth at the end of the bar, it makes us all look
smaller. Our country is bigger than that. I believe in this country, and we’re way
bigger than our President is making us look at a time like this. [applause]
So, it’s a good time for our country, and our party, to talk about security in a new
way. And that means recognizing that twenty-first
century security is going to be a little different. It includes things like cybersecurity and
election security. Security means dealing with violent white
nationalism that has claimed lives in this country and overseas. [applause]
It means finding a way to honor the Second Amendment without letting it become a death
sentence for thousands of Americans every year. Which we can do. And I don’t have to lecture a river community
in Iowa about how climate disruption is a security issue in our time. [applause]
Now, the good news is most Americans are with us on all of this. Most Americans agree with us on these issues. There’s just a small matter of making sure
that our democratic republic reflects the will of the American people. And that’s where democracy comes in. Because our democracy is struggling a little
bit. It’s struggling because districts are drawn
to where politicians are picking their voters instead of the other way around. It’s struggling because some Americans,
U.S. citizens in D.C. or Puerto Rico, don’t enjoy the same political representation as
the rest of us. It’s struggling at the hands of a Supreme
Court that’s starting to look like a nakedly political body. And we can fix all of that. I’d argue we might even go so far in a democracy
as to pick our president by just counting up the votes and giving it to the person who
got the most. [cheers/applause]
But even with all those reforms, there’s something else we’ve got to do for our democracy,
and that’s why I’m here to talk about service. It’s that faith in our institutions is near
record lows. Six in ten Americans or less express trust
in their fellow Americans. And we have got to knit back the American
fabric, quickly, if we want our democracy to work. When I was overseas in uniform, the biggest
thing I learned was how to put my faith in people who were completely different from
me. The military that I was part of drew on people
from every part of the country. People with different views, different backgrounds. It was the most racially-integrated organization
I’ve ever been part of. And there were some people there who we basically
had nothing in common except the fact that we were there. But every one of the 119 times I found myself
going outside the wire, driving or guarding a vehicle, I was with people who were trusting
me with their lives and I was doing the same. And they did not care if I was a Democrat
or a Republican. They did not care if I was going home. Did not care if I was going home to a girlfriend
or a boyfriend. Did not care what country my dad immigrated
from. They just cared that I knew how to do my job. [applause]
Because – because we all wanted to get home safe. And so what’s been on my mind is that that
life-changing experience of mine. It’s one that I wish more Americans had,
but I don’t think you ought to have to go to war in order to have that experience. The question is how do we create that kind
of common bond without expecting everybody to be in the military. And there’s a way to do that. It’s signing up for a cause that’s greater
than ourselves. The philosopher William James called it a
way to inflame the civic temper as history has inflamed the military temper. And this is not a new idea, nor is it a partisan
idea. You know, up until now, every administration
believed in service. President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps
and challenged us to ask not what the country could do for you. George H.W. Bush talked about the Thousand
Points of Light. President Obama expanded AmeriCorps and said
that when you serve today you connect your own unlikely story to the American story. And by the way, right here in Iowa, Congressman
Dave Loebsack was a huge champion of service, and so was Tom Harkin, among others, on both
sides of the aisle. The only exception I could find, actually,
is the current President, who proposed killing the Corporation for Community and National
Service. Taking a billion dollars out of it in the
budget. That didn’t come to pass, but that’s what
they proposed. And yet at this moment when social media and
polarization are putting us in our own bubbles, it’s never been more important to find a
common character in our country. And service is a way to do it. It’s a way to do it that offers a tremendous
return on investment. Some studies say you get about four dollars
for every one you put into it. And that’s why I believe we need to create
dramatically more service-year opportunities for Americans as soon as they finish high
school. [applause]
Now I picked Iowa to lay out this proposal because this is a state that punches above
its weight class when it comes to service. Four in ten Iowans report volunteering in
their community. One study found that Iowa was in the top five
in the country for volunteers. Do we have anybody who has been part of a
volunteer program? AmeriCorps? Peace Corps? Big Brothers Big Sisters? Something in your community? Raise your hand, be proud. Be recognized. [applause]
I bet you learned a lot about yourself and a lot about your country when you did. So whether it’s an AmeriCorps team rebuilding
communities after floods, or the communities that welcomed more than 18,000 refugees resettling
in Iowa, or the work that’s going on to help third graders read right here in Sioux
City. For Iowans, service is bedrock. Service is in your souls. And I want to make that a norm all across
America. So today I’m proud to announce a new call
for service. With three major steps. One, we propose to immediately triple paid
service opportunities. To bring them to 250,000 opportunities targeted
toward America’s high school graduates, community college, and vocational students. These are paid positions with the added benefit
of job training, hiring preferences, and qualifying for public service loan forgiveness. Second –
[cheers] Oh, yeah. That’s pretty good, too. [applause]
Second, we recognize that communities are where so much problem solving happens. And so I believe the federal government should
support communities coming up with their own service opportunities with competitive grants
that go to cities, towns, counties, communities, and regions that want to create a whole ecosystem
of service around whatever issues matter most in your community. That’s step two, and that’s what our federal
government ought to be ready to do. [applause]
And third, I believe by 2026, when we’re going to have a very big Fourth of July because
it’s the 250th birthday of this country, that by then we can invest so that one million
high school graduates have an opportunity for a full year of service to their community
and to their country. [applause]
Now doing that will require resources. It will require organization. And I propose we set up a Chief Service Officer
who will have direct office – direct access to my office. And I think when we do that, we will find
not only that a lot of work gets done but that a lot of Americans come closer together. There is scripture that says, whom shall I
send and who will go for us? Isaiah says, here I am, send me. This is for everybody who has said, here I
am, send me. And, I know there are a lot of people here
who would take advantage of those opportunities. Ask yourself, would you be part of a community
health corps that would focus on those struggling with addiction, mental health, or substance
use issues? [applause]
Sounds like we got some takers. How about an intergenerational corps to provide
caregiving to our nation’s seniors and learn from them while you do? [cheers/applause]
How about a climate corps? The first responders in the wake of the last
disaster and build resilience to help prevent the next one. [cheers/applause]
Sounds like we got some takers. There’s a reason why the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps,
the military, they’re all turning away far more people than they can accept. The desire to serve, the hunger to be part
of something bigger than yourself, is already alive and well. We just got to make sure we rise to meet it. So we’re going to try to model that in our
own campaign. We’re going to make a point of meeting with
local service leaders on our campaign stops. And next month we’ll be calling on all of
our supporters in every state to join us in a national day of service to truly make that
part of the ethic of our campaign. I hope you join us. [applause]
We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the first question you get for a young person applying
for a job or applying to college is not just where are you from, but where did you serve? What was it like? Who did you meet? And what did you learn? When we do that, when we bring together Americans
from every walk of life, we will be repairing the fabric of our nation. [applause]
We can shape a whole new generation of American people bound by mutual service. Aware of common values that bind us as Americans,
not agreeing on everything, but having that common touchstone that so many veterans have
but that you shouldn’t have to go to war to experience. So tomorrow as we celebrate the birth of American
democracy, I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s done Iowa style. And I think it’s an opportunity to think
about what really does make us great. Not so much our independence, but our interdependence. [applause]
That idea that for all our differences of race and religion
and region, politics, all of our disagreements out of many, we are one. That’s patriotism. It’s not the size of our military budget,
it’s not the tanks the President wants to roll down the streets in Washington, it is
what lives in the hearts of people committed to a greater cause than themselves. [cheers/applause]
When a tornado went through Marshalltown, all the Habitat for Humanity volunteers came
from all across the state. One of them said, this is what Iowans do. We stand up for each other when the chips
are down. It’s what Iowans do, what Americans do,
and seeing that spirit of service, I am optimistic for our future. So, Sioux City, are you ready to answer the
call to serve? [cheers/applause]
And are you ready to take our deepest values and build them into a different kind of politics
in our time? [cheers/applause]
Are you ready to mobilize not just to win the next election but to win the next era
in American life? [cheers/applause]
Then I feel pretty good about our future. Let’s have a conversation. I don’t want to talk at you the whole time. I’m thankful that you’re here. I know it’s a little warm so I appreciate
the endurance that this represents. We’ve got some microphones going around. I’d love to answer any questions, whether
it’s about this or anything else that’s on your mind. RACHEL: Hi. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Hello. RACHEL: Hi, Mayor Pete. My name is Rachel, and I’m with the Iowa
States for Service Coalition. So, thank you for your service and also your
support of AmeriCorps and elevating the conversation about national service. The comment and then a few questions about
your national service plan. This year AmeriCorps is a national service
program, it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary, and over a million Americans have already
served as AmeriCorps members. Here in Iowa, we have over 1,400 AmeriCorps
members, over 5,000 Senior Corps volunteers, and 90,000 volunteers serving in the Volunteer
Generation Fund and mainstream programs, like we’ve heard about before, all managed through
Volunteer Iowa, the state commission here. While these numbers re impressive, they are
addressing only a small fraction of the need here in Iowa and engaging a small percentage
of Iowans that could serve. As you know, AmeriCorps is a complex federal
program, and it can be hard for smaller communities, like Sioux City and those more rural communities
(inaudible) surrounding to really access those resources. How will your plan build off existing infrastructure
by working with state and local governments? And also, through your plan, will national
service be accessible to all Iowans that want to serve? And how will it be accessible to all types
of Iowa communities? Thank you. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Fantastic. Such a – first of all, thanks for your – your
advocacy on this issue. And there’s a lot there. Let me start with what you’re saying about
the local piece because I think this is (inaudible) important. Different communities have different needs. And they organize themselves in different
ways. And that’s why I think we not only need
to provide the funding to allow more people to serve in established programs, like Peace
Corps or AmeriCorps. We also ought to recognize that a lot of communities
are going to come up with their own solutions. That’s where the competitive grant program
comes in. So in addition to the federal match that will
go to the kinds of programs we’ve already got. AmeriCorps is a good example. We’re using that in South Bend to help weatherize
homes. It makes it possible for seniors to afford
to live in their homes more, and it makes us more (inaudible). But we want to challenge American communities
to devise their own systems for service. And then we will, through that competitive
grant process support them and circulate the ideas and what they learned from each other
and bring them together from time to time to share those best practices. I’m also really glad you mentioned the importance
of making it possible for all Iowans, all Americans to contribute. Because this is also something we believe. It’s not only to be supported but to be
given a chance to support others. This is a huge issue for veterans’ reintegration. It’s (inaudible) like Team Rubicon (inaudible)
organizations. They don’t go to a veteran and say, you
know, I’m – I’m going to – just to hand something to you, they say, I still need
your help. America still needs your help even if you’re
out of uniform. And that community, that identity, and purpose
that you build up, that is one of the rewards of service. We also want the positions to be paid, but
this reward is as meaningful or more in so many cases. And so that will be something that will be
given scoring in the points in the competitive system to show that it is an inclusive program
that makes it possible for different people to serve. But it’s also why we’ve got to put some
funding on this. You know, for far too many, service is kind
of a luxury. And we’ve got to make this a universal (inaudible)
which means it has to be available to everybody who wants to serve, no matter their backgrounds,
abilities or means. Thank you. [applause]
Let’s see. Question on this side? Yep? Hi. LANGSTON ZANE (SP): Hello. My name is Langston Zane. And so I’m – I’m looking forward – forward
to later in my life possibly serving, and you mentioned student loan forgiveness. I wonder if you could elaborate a bit more
on that. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, absolutely. [applause]
Pretty cool to already be thinking about service at his age, isn’t it? Well, first of all, by the time you’re applying
for college, I’m hoping it will be dramatically more affordable, and we’ve got a separate
set of plans on that. So that a lot of student who today carry debt
wouldn’t even have debt coming out of college. But for those who would, we want to make sure
that we reward public service with a way to reduce or eliminate your debt based on how
much you serve. Now, there’s a program for that now, it’s
called Public Service Loan Forgiveness. But the way it works, it’s really hard to
actually use the benefits. And so one of the things we want to do with
this service program is make sure that your service here qualifies for that benefit so
that you can use it toward paying down your debt. And, there ought to be hiring preference,
so if you are applying for a job later, and you’ve been in one of these service programs,
you get extra points for that when you’re applying for a job. And that will help you boost your income,
too. So, check me with me once you’re – once
you’re finished with your service year to see (inaudible). I’m glad you’re already thinking about
it. Thank you. All right. Let me come to this side. Right here. The mic will come right to you. UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Afghanistan. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yes, sir. UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: When are we getting
out? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: So, when I left in 2014,
I thought I was one of the last troops turning out the lights. I thought it was ending then. Five years later, we’re still there. And it’s clear that there’s not a very
strong plan on how to get out. We’ve got to go. We’ve got to put an end to end this war. [cheers/applause]
And that means a mission that is not defined as being the provider of full peace and prosperity. We can’t be responsible for that. What we should do is, as we leave, try not
to do anything that would undermine the Afghan government. I am worried that we’re talking to the Taliban,
we’re not talking to the government that was elected. But at the end of the day, the Afghans have
to stand on their two feet. Now, one of the things you learn from – I
mean, this is 2019. You’re almost old enough to enlist – you
could enlist today and not have been born on 9/11. And the lesson from that is when you get into
one of these conflicts, it is extremely hard to get out. Which is why the best thing we can do to end
an endless war is not to get into one in the first place if we can avoid it, and that’s
why we’ve got to get off the warpath with Iran. All right. Right up front. Love the shirt, by the way. HELENA (SP): So I – my name is Helena. I’m a high school student from Nebraska. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Hi. HELENA: My question is like ever since the
Parkland shooting, I’ve been really scared to go to school or really any public place. What is your plan to fix the gun control issue
that we’re having? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Thanks for raising that. And –
[applause] You know, one of the things that’s changing
the conversation is people your age looking elected officials dead in the eye and saying
what are you going to do to keep us safe? Because you have a kind of moral authority
that leaves the likes of the NRA in the dust. So keep raising your voice. [applause]
Now, the crazy thing about this issue is, there’s a lot of stuff Americans agree on
doing right now. Start with the universal background checks. Most Americans agree – most Republicans
agree, most gun owners agree. We just cant get most members of Congress
to agree. It’s one of the reasons why I think we need
to do things (inaudible) politics and the rest of it. If there’s that much daylight between the
American people and the American Congress, something’s twisted in (inaudible). But –
[applause] But the bottom line is, we will fight – I
will fight – for universal background checks. Number one. Number two, we need red flag laws. So when somebody is a danger to themselves
or others, we make it harder for them to get a weapon. Or, for that matter, ammunition. We’ve got to disarm domestic abusers and
catch mental health issues before they turn lethal. That’s number two. [applause]
And number three, having trained on (inaudible) weapons of war when I was in the military,
I’ve got to tell you, with all respect for self-defense, and hunting, and the rest of
it, there are weapons of war that simply do not belong in American neighborhoods in peace
time. [cheers/applause]
But I really think we can deliver that change if we’re ready to see the political will
from the White House and to remind constituents what the members of Congress are ignoring. Because we’ve done it far too long. Will this prevent every tragedy? Maybe not. But it will save thousands and thousands of
lives. And – and shame on us if we don’t deliver. Also, for those who can’t see, I just – I
love the tee. The tee shirt says, we should all be feminists. And –
[cheers/applause] At a moment like this, I think it is especially
important, I think, for men to step up to be feminists, too, so thanks for the reminder. All right. Let’s see. Make sure we’re (inaudible) in the back. Right there. Green shirt. UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: Hello. If elected president, it’s quite likely
that you will be facing a Republican majority in the Senate. How do you plan on working in a bipartisan
way with leader McConnell to appoint Supreme Court Justices and get legislation through? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: So – so there’s
two ways of looking at this. The first is, in that scenario, we’ve got
to deal with it. I wouldn’t get very far as a mayor if I
didn’t know how to work with Republicans. I’m on my third Republican Governor. We’ve got a legislature so Republican that
the Democrats don’t even have to show up for them to do business. Needed for a quorum. And so, what I’ve found works is not to
pretend to be more conservative than I am, but to work consistently with the values that
motivate me. Be very transparent about it. But also, look at areas where there’s agreement. And, again, some of these areas of agreement
might surprise you. Gun safety is one of them. Among the American people. Just not in the American Congress. By the way, immigration is another one. You know, most Americans are for a comprehensive
bipartisan reform of the immigration system. It’s Washington that can’t get it done. [applause]
So, I think that, look, I think that we have lost a lot of our illusions about good faith
among the Senate Republicans. Did you see where Mitch McConnell said if
there was nominee in 2020, they’d go ahead and vote on it even though in 2016 they said
it was (inaudible) to do it in an election year? They’re not even pretending to be working
in good faith anymore, right? And so that brings me to by far the best solution
to the very serious and very real issue that you raised, which is to make sure that there
is not a Republic Senate majority. That means having a candidate with coattails
and it means winning. All right. Dead center with the blue shirt. We can get a mic to you. Thanks to our mic runners, by the way. I know we’ve got you moving around a lot. FEMALE SPEAKER: Oh, yeah. Thank you. Okay. Hi, Pete, first of all. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Hi. FEMALE SPEAKER: I am from Syracuse, Indiana. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: All right. FEMALE SPEAKER: Beautiful Lake Wawasee. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. FEMALE SPEAKER: And when you mentioned the
electoral college, I would like you to speak just a little bit more on that because I have
experienced being a token Democrat in a Republican small town. But also, I’ve experienced living in the
heartland and wanting to make sure that our voice and our vote matters. Now I live in Nebraska which has a modified
electoral vote. And I am basically just wondering your justification
for comments such as “completely eliminating” versus modifying in a way that may or may
not actually be more representative of people in small rural towns and people in huge cities. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Right. So, here’s the way I look at it. The – the electoral college as we have it
now doesn’t really lift up small communities or big communities, it just lifts up certain
communities. Right? So, in Indiana, most years our electoral votes
don’t matter, so nobody ever talks to us because we’re a very conservative state. In Illinois it’s the same thing because
they’re reliably Democrat. Small states from Wyoming to Rhode Island
are penalized. Big states from California to Texas are penalized. It’s got nothing to do with how big or how
small you are, how rural or how urban you are. It just has to do with whether you happen
to be one of the handful of states that benefits by that. And I think that if we go by the very simple
principle – I think Nebraska is a step in the right direction, by the way. It’s better than what we’ve got. But, at risk of sounding simplistic, I think
the fairest way to deal with this is just to say everybody’s voi – vote and voice
counts exactly the same. That way – that way somebody has got to
care about your vote even if you’re a lonely Democrat living in a conservative area, or
vice versa. Your vote still matters because it counts
toward the total. We’ve got to speak to you wherever you are
in this country. Whatever kind of community you live in, whatever
your life experience. Instead of writing off entire states because
they don’t fit into that. So, that’s the way I think of it. We just go with one person, one vote. Stop trying to put a thumb on the scale here
and a thumb on the scale there. There’s more than enough of that in (inaudible). And that makes your small states get privileged
more than (inaudible). But for the rest of it, I just say (inaudible)
all the same. [applause]
All right. Right here. Red shirt. Hi. MARGINE NEGLES (SP): Hi. My name is Margine Negles. I’m part of SCAN, which means Save the Children
Action Network. A couple of questions (inaudible) early education. As a president, what actions would you take
to ensure that families can afford child care and early education so children are prepared
to enter school and parents can work? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. So, two big things that we need. And I was talking to somebody just recently
on the campaign trail who was describing a young working couple. And she did the math. They both work, so her kid’s in childcare. What she realized is the childcare (inaudible)
is consuming everything that she earns. At work. She’s basically working in order to be able
to afford to be working. And that’s no way to support working families
in this country. So, there’s two things we’ve got to do. The first is to support people in being able
to afford childcare. And that’s where tax credits that can recognize
when someone is in that situation, let them decide how best to deploy those dollars is
the right way to go, in my view. The second thing we’ve got to do is deliver
quality pre-kindergarten childcare for every American. And I think we can do it. It’s not cheap, but there is a huge return
on investment. It’s one of the best things that can pay
for itself. You know, we were told falsely that a tax
cut for the wealthiest would pay for itself. We’ve run this experiment lots and lots
of times. Turns out it just isn’t true. It’s kind of like what they say about communism. You know, it sounds good in theory, it doesn’t
work in practice. That’s true of supply-side economics, too. But, there are investments you can make, expenditures
you can make that pay back. And one of them is investing in early childhood
education. Because you have better outcomes, longer (inaudible). You even see fewer people going to prison
when they’ve had the benefit of early childhood education. And communities won’t be able to do it without
federal support, so there needs to be federal funding to help local communities make that
a reality. [applause]
All right. Let’s go right here. PAT BOGGS (SP): Thank you for taking my question. My name is Pat Boggs, and I have a healthcare
concern. I am a voice for the Alzheimer’s Association,
a voice for the AIM, and a voice for the 5.8 million Americans who deal with dementia and
their loved ones. My question is, as President, do you have
a plan to help promote caregivers and how to deal with the issue of Alzheimer’s and
other related dementias? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Yes. And thank you. Thank you for being a voice. I don’t know, Pat, if this has impacted
– how this has impacted you, but I think so many of us – it has impacted? Okay. Well, thanks for channeling obviously what
is such a cruel disease and making that – making yourself a light to others through that. That – not everybody has the strength to
do that, and that’s really important. So thank you. And I believe there are two categories of
things we’ve got to do. One of them is research on this disease. Because I’ve got to believe that America
can tackle Alzheimer’s if we adequately fund research. So CDC, NIH, and other institutions with federal
support, and support in the universities, should see an expansion in the funding that
goes in to deal with the disease, a disease, as you said, touches so many. And by the way, costs us so much as a country. The human cost and the cost that we can count,
all the dollars and cents. So we’ve got to do that. Now in order to do that, it’s going to be
important to have the White House, as mine will be, that believes in science. That doesn’t view it as political stuff. That believes it. [cheers/applause]
Now, the other side of the equation that you mentioned is support of caregivers. And I think this ties into something a little
bit deeper, which is there’s a lot of talk about working people, supporting working people,
as we all want to do. And the definition of work is a little bit
narrow. If it’s work that you get a W-2 or a 1099
form, we call it work. And we honor it in a certain way. But I think all of us would agree that caregiving
is work. It happens in the home and you don’t get
paid for it, but it’s work. [applause]
We’ll be sharing more on this later this summer, but – but just to give you a preview,
I believe when we provide support through our tax code for working people, we need a
wider imagination about what that actually means. And it should be expanded to include the work
of parents and the work of those who are taking care of parents and loved ones because that’s
work, too, and the federal government should recognize that. [applause]
All right. Where’d our mic go? You’ve got one right behind you on the – on
the doorpost there. ABBY LAFLEUR (SP): Hi. I’m Abby LaFleur. I’m a college student, and I think that
one issue that people my age might think is the biggest is climate change. And so I guess I’m just wondering what specific
legislative action do you plan to take to tackle that issue? MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, thanks, Abby. Several specific things that we know we’ve
got to do. And some of them get talked about a lot and
some of them don’t. Let’s start with the ones that you hear
a lot about, and I just want to get it on the record that I support them. One of them is we need a carbon pricing dividend. We’ve got to do it in order for our economy
to have the right rewards for us to do the right thing to capture the true costs of the
choices we make every day. Now everybody is afraid of that because another
word for carbon price is tax, and you’re not supposed to use the “T” word if you’re
running for office. But, we could rebate – the point of the
carbon tax is not to take money out of the economy. It’s to make sure that prices reflect the
true cost of things that put carbon into the atmosphere. And that means that we can put that money
right back into the economy. So I would propose that the carbon tax, or
price, include a dividend that distributes all of it right back out to the American people. And do it in a progressive way so that most
of us are made more-than whole. In that way, it can also help empower a lot
of Americans, and I think it helps some of the political allergies to this very-necessary
policy go away. That’s just one thing we’ve got to do. Another thing we’ve got to do is increased
research, with federal backing, on energy storage, carbon storage, and renewable energy. We should probably at least quadruple it to
about $24 billion a year. It’s important enough that we ought to be
doing it, and there are some things that just won’t happen without federal backing to
get that research done. So that’s another one. Now, these are the kinds of things you hear
about a lot. I think we pretty much agree on that, among
Democrats. A couple things for some reason you don’t
hear about as much. One of them is the importance of the local. So there’s a lot of cities that have come
together frustrated that our – from around the world, not just in America, frustrated
that national governments are not doing enough. And basically we realize, you know, between
us we got so many of the world’s population and so much of the world’s economy, that
if we met these goals, we would be – we would be halfway there. And so South Bend, even though Washington
got out of the Paris Accord, South Bend said we’re still in it. We ought to support local community problem
solving for sustainability. And what I would do, in addition to rejoining
the Paris Accords right away, is I would follow that up with a Pittsburgh summit, right here
on American soil, that brings together communities, and states, and looks at how the federal government
can support that in their actions about sustainability at the local issue – local level. [applause]
Last policy I want to mention is that we’ve got to invite rural America to be part of
the solution. I think right now a lot of folks in rural
America feel like we’re telling them they’re bad because we care about climate change. When actually, if you look at things like
soil management, there’s a lot of research that suggests that the capacity of the world’s
soil to hold the carbon is as much as the carbon that gets put into the atmosphere by
the entire global transportation (inaudible), if we could just figure out how to do it. that’s just one example of how through soil
management and other sustainable practices in rural America, we could be finding a lot
of the solutions there. And I think that’s necessary because this
– this can’t be an issue that pits one part of America against another. We’ve all got to gain (inaudible). And this is no longer an issue that we have
the luxury of debating whether or not it’s real. If you’re still debating it’s real, we
can’t – we literally don’t have time to argue with you. We’ve seen it in Iowa. We’ve seen it in Indiana. I have had to activate the emergency operations
center in my city, twice, in two years. The first time was for a thousand-year flood
and the second time was for a 500-year flood. Now, either I’m running some ridiculous
odds, or things are changing around us. We know this. We’ve got to adapt. And we’ve got to act fast to make sure it
doesn’t get worse. And much like the issue of gun violence, I’ve
got to tell you the moral authority of the new generation saying, hey, our lives – our
life opportunities are going to depend on whether you folks in power figure this out. Your activism is going to be what makes the
difference between this election and the last election where, shockingly, the number of
climate change questions in the presidential debates was zero. That’s not going to happen again, and it’s
because of people like you. [cheers/applause]
All right. Sounds like we’ve got time for one more,
and, ooh, a lot of hands are up. Right here in the purple shirt. Yep. CHRIS: My name is Chris, and I’m from Nebraska. (Inaudible). And I’m just curious what your position
is to make sure (inaudible). [applause]
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: First of all, I believe the Hyde Amendment has got to go. [applause]
And more broadly, unfortunately what we’re seeing is they’re tearing up what amounts
to an American agreement. Obviously, this is a tough issue for a lot
of people. it’s a tough issue where I live. I’m the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. We’ve – the Democratic mayor of South
Bend. Pro-choice Democratic mayor of South Bend,
Indiana. Right? It’s tough. People I know, people I love, people who support
me, don’t see the issue the way I see it. But the way I see it is that this is one of
the most challenging decisions that a woman can face. And it is challenging if she faces it on her
own. It is challenging but perhaps made better
if she recruits the advice and support of people in her life, religious guidance, if
that’s how she see’s the world. Medical guidance for sure. But what doesn’t make that decision any
better, medically or morally, is for the government to come in and tell her what she should do. [cheers/applause]
So you can count on me to have that philosophy reflected in my judicial appointments. You can count on me to have that reflected
in my legislative agenda. And you can count on me to continue to believe
that it’s twice as important right now for men to be standing with women and standing
for reproductive rights. [cheers/applause]
So, again I want to thank you. We’re going to be in Iowa an awful lot over
the coming months. Looking forward to getting to know you. Hoping to earn your vote. Hoping to earn your support. Hoping that you’ll tell friends about our
message. And – and the one thing I want to leave
you with is that I still believe this is a season for us to have an awful lot of hope
about our country. I know it’s tough to talk about things like
hope at a moment when we’ve got such bleakness and divisiveness emanating from our capitol,
that show I was talking about, whether you think of it as a horror show, or a reality
show, or a game show, or a couple unrepeatable words also come to mind. But we got – we’re not going to go on
that show. If you’re playing his game, you’re losing. If you’re talking about him, we’re not
talking about you. So we’re going to change the channel. And –
[cheers/applause] And I need your help to do it. But, I’m telling you, running for office
is an act of hope. Supporting somebody running for office is
an act of hope. Sweating in a high school gym on a very warm
day is an act of hope, so you give me hope. And I’m so thankful that – that find it
worthwhile, that you find it worth getting involved, that you know how much this matters. Can I count on you to keep that spirit of
hope active in our (inaudible)? [cheers]
Then with you at my side, I think I can’t lose. I can’t wait to see you every step of the
way, and I’ll see you on the trail. Thank you for your support. Thank you for everything you bring to this. I can’t thank you enough. Thank you. [music]

32 thoughts on “A New Call to Service

  1. I ❤️ Mayor Pete. He gives me hope that we can transcend our bitter partisanship and move forward. He IS the generational change we need and he has my vote. Truly stands out from the establishment status quo😃👍🏻😃

  2. Pete has what it takes to be the President of the United States, one problem stands in his way, the DUMMYCRATIC PARTY DOESN'T WANT HIM THEY ARE SOOO FRIGGIN STUPID AND THEY KNOW HE IS WAAAAAAAAY WAAAAAAAAY SMARTER THAN THEY ARE.

  3. The sound quality and video speed are much better on the twitter feed: https://twitter.com/PeteButtigieg/status/1146538806977454080

  4. Was this maliciously posited? This is awful and should not have been green lit. Do you have an enemy inside the gate mayor Pete?

  5. Attn!!! Pete's campaign staff. Someone tampered with the audio. Investigate this and try to prevent it from happening again.

  6. PLease delete or fix . It’s a bad way to start this campaign.☹️why can’t you fix the audio??

  7. Dear Mayor Pete,
    I do not agree with getting rid of the electoral college for several reasons, or changing the Supreme Court number, or getting rid of the requirment for super majority and 60 vote requirements in Senate to pass certain legislation or resolutions.

    I like national service, expanded help for those who need it and having a plan to combat environmental degradation. It would be great if you could be stronger on environmental protection.

    I dont think we should outlaw private insurance products, or provide health insurance to those who enter the country illegally but support the U.S. providing help for people to stay in their own country like humanitarian aid and training. We need to rewrite Immigration Laws to help the U.S. and to be humane.

    We need more help for foster kids, elderly, veterans, mentally ill, addicted, homeless and impoverished areas in the U.S.

    Cost of education of all types and prescription medicine needs to come down.

    The U.S. can be for humanitarianism and civility and take care of people born here and stop causing trouble for other countries.

    And yes, it was fair for the 39 senators plus to ask Al to leave. So I disagree with you on that one.

    I wish you were in your town addressing the issues there more than going in the Iowa parade because that would speak louder than anything that you could lead a nation.

    You need to spend more time in your town and in minority areas and with women, not in 90% white areas whether they have a first primary or not. They are following national polling this year more than leading or deciding on behalf of the entire nation which is antiquated.

    Unfortunately, the deck is stacked against you for getting certain demographic categories of voters especially black voters.

    I like you better than Trump clearly but I question if you are ready given your lackluster handling of the shooting in your town and you wondering if it was strategic for you to be there as opposed to on the campaign trail. Not a good comment.

    Another topic that isnt spoken enough is infrastructure.

    I do wish you luck and I like your candidacy better than some others but if you call your fellow candidates names or imply they are racist I will cross you off my list like I just did someone else. If you carry on and pander and tell white people how privileged they are and apologize for being white I will cross you off my list, like I had to do with another candidate.

    I never here Democrats concerned about white Appalachia except maybe Sen. Webb in 2016 so that is how I know most are pandering about only certain areas just for votes.

    This country needs to route out crony capitalism. We should be a capitalist country with rules and a safety net and a leader in humanitarianism and civility and caring for all people. We should not be making mandates and banning industries.

    You are right that we need intergenerational leadership however between you and Swalwell it is getting old how you are always commenting about your youth and the age of the other candidates. It is called ageism and it isnt how to get a bunch of the older people to vote for your after a time especially in the General but obviously you are just geared for the primary first. You arent that young and it wont be long before you are old.

    Bless you and Chasten and your whole family and I will be hoping the best for you.

  8. He is really on my wave-length. I was just telling someone a few days ago about the call of the biblical prophet, "Here am I. Send me," which I learned about years ago in a college English class, The Bible as Literature. I appreciate the humanities background he has. I think, I hope, it will make him a more thoughtful president, one who makes wise decisions. I watched this on Twitter. Excellent question and answer session. I hope he gets better coverage on the news again. They really have been negative toward him and many other democratic candidates lately. It suggests that comedian Michelle Wolf spoke the truth when she suggested the news wasn't being honest about their attitude toward Trump: "I think you really like him." Pete always makes me feel hopeful that positive change is possible.

  9. Go to "Setting" and increase "Playback Speed" from "Normal" to 1.25. That works to raise speed and his voice is normalized.

  10. Hey Pete – I’m all in on your campaign and this movement – but I wanted to ask about opportunities and protections for those of us who can’t serve in the military. As a proud Quaker, my religious beliefs lead me to a life where I cannot serve in any armed forces in any capacity. You have said that you are open to making service mandatory when people turn 18 – will you assure me that you will make sure that you will provide us opportunities to serve and if it is mandated, that religious and moral beliefs are respected when being assigned service and that you will not compromise my right to not be in the military and to serve my country in other ways when trying to pass this call to service? Thanks!

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