Buttigieg says he’s proud of his record as South Bend mayor

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to a crowd about his Presidential run during the Democratic monthly breakfast held at the Circle of Friends Community Center in Greenville, S.C. Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg said Wednesday that he’s proud of his record as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, but realizes some problems remain.

“This is not a rags-to-riches story,” he told The Associated Press after a campaign stop in Marshalltown. “This is a story about transforming our trajectory.”

His record overseeing the midsize Midwestern city of about 100,000 residents since 2012 has been scrutinized in recent weeks as his campaign has surged. While the median household income in South Bend has increased and the poverty rate has declined under his watch, Buttigieg’s detractors have noted those figures lag statewide and national trends.

But on Wednesday, Buttigieg, 37, said that he was proud of his work eliminating blighted properties and improving unemployment in the city and that “things have come to be headed in the right direction” in South Bend.

“I’m not going around saying we’ve fixed every problem we’ve got, but I’m so proud of what we’ve done together,” he said.

The campaign stop in Iowa drew a strong turnout of around 150 voters to the backyard of a Marshalltown home. Also in attendance were three religious protesters, two of whom had trailed Buttigieg during his previous day of campaigning in Iowa. On Wednesday, the duo dressed as Buttigieg and the devil and set up a loudspeaker in the adjacent alleyway to amplify their message.

Buttigieg, however, didn’t acknowledge the protesters and spoke over them about issues such as veterans’ health care and child care affordability. He also answered a question from a voter who identified herself as Christian about what he would do to protect religious freedom.

“We support everybody’s right to practice their faith. We also make sure that we have a system that protects anybody from harming somebody else, and just because your religion made you do it doesn’t mean it’s OK,” he said.

Following the event, Buttigieg shrugged off the protesters as par for the course for a candidate running for public office.

“I think when you’re in politics, especially at this level, you’re going to see the good, the bad, the ugly and the peculiar,” he told reporters.

“Look, the next president is going to have to confront things a lot more challenging than being interrupted or having to talk over a little noise at an event,” Buttigieg added. “So it may be irritating, but it’s also part of the landscape.”

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1 comment

Dan April 18, 2019 at 9:24 am

Anything that has been good economically has nothing to do with Butti. That would be Trump! South Bend spends money everywhere it is not needed and then cries that they need more taxes…Typical Liberal B.S. I can’t wait to hear what Pelosi and Schumer tell Butti his policies will be. (if he gets that far). He has none of his own. So far all he speaks about is how bad Trump is (Best economy in 10 years) and that he is gay. I wonder who his V.P. running mate would be if he gets the primary. It would have to be a “straight” person if we want to have any dialogue with middle eastern countries. We will be the joke of modern civilization if we were to elect this guy. Wake up America. This is beyond ridiculous.


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