Pete Buttigieg, 37-year-old Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has been many things: A Rhodes Scholar. A Navy intelligence officer, deployed—during his Mayoral tenure—to Afghanistan. The husband of a man, making him one of few openly gay politicians in America. An author, of the new book Shortest Way Home. And now, potentially, a 2020 Presidential candidate.
On Wednesday, The Citizen hosted an intimate conversation between “Mayor Pete”—it’s “boot-edge-edge,” by the way—and Drexel’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab Director Bruce Katz, about how the work being done in cities can translate to national policy; what it means to truly be a country that works for all its residents; and how our politics has to become about making democracy do its best work—not about the power that goes along with, well, being in power.
The event, at Dilworth Paxson law firm in partnership with the Pamela and Ajay Raju Foundation and the Finance Lab, was one in a planned series of conversations with presidential contenders who were or are mayors, who learned their craft by solving everyday problems for everyday people where they live. That, after all, is the job: Helping people live their best lives, in the place and circumstances in which they want to live.
As Katz put it in a recent column: “Cities have emerged as the vanguard of problem solving in the United States and beyond…cities are networks, not governments, and mayors possess a form of soft power that enables them to convene local stakeholders around pressing issues.”
Listen to Buttigieg’s talk about his experience in South Bend here:
And hear former Denver Mayor (and Colorado Governor) John Hickenlooper talk with former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi, at The Citizen’s Ideas We Should Steal Festival last November: