Louisville voters attend Buttigieg’s presidential town hall


Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election, visited Play Lousiville night club last night to make his campaign known in Louisville.

Hundreds of people crammed into the night club venue to hear Buttigieg’s vision, policies and case as to why Americans should vote for him in 2020.

The openly gay candidate chose this venue because of its identity as a gay nightclub as well as the contributions Play has made to the aftereffect of the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

His introduction to Louisville

Nicole Yates, District Director for John Yarmuth and old friend of Buttigieg introduced him to the stage as his campaign video flashed on the screen.

Buttigieg addressed the crowd and dove right into his reasons and visions for running for president in the 2020 election with one reason being the passion and concern shown in young teens and children about the fates of their family in the current presidency.

“I have policy ideas for [the issues children are worried about] but the biggest thing that I have to tell these kids is ‘You’re not supposed to be worrying about this,’’ he said. “We as leaders are supposed to deal with that so you don’t have to.”

Buttigieg also addressed the concerns he has with President Trump, calling his vision to beat Trump next fall, “both bold and unified.”

“Ask yourself how we ever got a President like the one we have now in the Oval Office to begin with,” he said. “That shouldn’t happen if everything is going along okay, which tells you that we have issues that we haven’t dealt with in this country. If we don’t answer those problems boldly now, we’re never going to be able to, which is why we need to be bold, a presidency I haven’t seen yet but will promise to give.”

Trump mentions

Buttigieg did not stray away from mentioning President Trump on the nightclub stage.

He first called out Trump’s “lack of military background” and “false patriotism.”

“Imagine a presidency where patriotism doesn’t mean hugging a flag,” he said. “And it definitely doesn’t mean that you use the military as props.”

“Imagine a patriotism that recognizes that part of what the flag stands for is our obligation to speak up when our leaders do something wrong,” Buttigieg said. “Not to be told to go back where they came from.”

He also attempted to take a jab at  Trump’s plan for a wall on the southern border, calling it “17th-century security and technology.”

Questions from the audience

After making his case and sharing his story with the audience, Kentucky Representative Charles Booker and Buttigieg led a Q&A with questions from audience members chosen prior to the event.

During Buttigieg’s town hall, Representative Booker led a Q&A with questions from the audience to learn Buttigieg’s viewpoint on issues concerning the people.

Buttigieg was able to share his views on systematic racism, student debt, capital punishment and gun control despite the time crunch and limited number of questions.

Systematic Racism and Generational Poverty

Representative Booker started off the Q&A by asking how Buttigieg is going to tackle the issues of inequality in lower-income families and the generational poverty that goes along with it.

“One of the biggest sources of these structural inequities is the systematic racism in the United States,” he said. “This is generational, and in the same way a dollar saved adds up more and more with the way interest works, that’s also true to every dollar stolen. This is why we need economic empowerment,  setting a 25% goal for the federal government to do business with businesses owned by people who have been historically excluded.”

Student Debt

Buttigieg addressed his views on the student debt crisis by connecting it to his personal experience with it, revealing that as a household, he and his husband have six-figure debt.

“We have to expand ways to get your debt forgiven through public service,” he said. “There’s public service loan forgiveness plans that are very difficult to get access to, and we need to make it more generous, more expansive and more accessible.”

He also believes in reforms to the system of college itself and reduced tuition prices.

“We have to work with states to make sure not too much of the tuition burden is passed on to students, and make them eligible for living expenses, not just tuition,” he said. “States need to hold up their end of the bargain.

Capital Punishment

When asked about capital punishment and whether or not it belongs in the American justice system, Buttigieg simply answered, “I believe it does not.”

“One thing I’m not comfortable empowering the government to do is to render someone defenseless, tie them up, and kill them,” he said. “It cannot be reversed, and it causes a lot of racial inequity. I know [being against the death penalty] is not a popular view in the country and it’s not going to do me any favors politically, but it’s what I believe in and want people to understand that’s a belief I hold.”

Supporters Reactions

A variety of people and supporters came out to watch Mayor Pete take the stage in Louisville.

Andrew Glibbery, an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Marion C. Moore Middle School has followed Pete’s campaign with his wife since the CNN town hall prior to when Buttigieg announced.

“There is an authenticity and emotional connection to Pete and this sense that Pete feels and knows the crowd and is responding to in real-time,” Glibbery said.

He also complimented Buttigieg’s answer to a question asked about transitioning coal miners from their jobs to a system of clean energy.

“[Buttigieg] brought up that for the coal miners there’s this identity issue we’re not addressing where their families for ages have been coal miners,” Gibbery said. “We’re missing this idea that we’re asking them to change their identity and [Buttigieg’s answer] felt like to me like somebody who really understands the issue and what people are feeling and addresses them in ways that are thoughtful and kind.”

Former radio personality and Louisville native Jim Macmillan and a few of his friends also attended the town hall. Macmillan was wearing a shirt that said “BOOT EDGE EDGE,” merchandise created by Buttigieg’s campaign to show people how to pronounce his last name.

“I thought his answers were concise and good [tonight],” Macmillan said. “He was very well prepared. I expected him to do a good job and he did.”

Macmillan has been supporting Buttigieg since his campaign announcement and resonates with Buttigieg on a personal level.

“I’m gay and Midwestern so the identity nature of [his campaign] makes me really excited to see somebody like me running for president,” he said. “I see a lot of myself in him, but I also wouldn’t like him or support him if I didn’t think and he was good and I thought he had a good grasp of the issues [in our country].”

Buttigieg has qualified for the fourth presidential debate in Ohio this October and is continuing his campaign journey to raise money to stay in the race.

His next campaign stops can be found on his website.