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The youngest of the presidential contenders, Pete Buttigieg is also the only openly gay candidate who has jumped into the race. Buttigieg, 37, ran for mayor of South Bend, Indiana, his hometown, when he was only 29. He is a graduate of Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. After becoming mayor in 2011, Buttigieg deployed to Afghanistan for a seven-month tour in 2013 as a member of the Navy Reserve. In 2015, shortly before the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, Buttigieg came out as gay in an essay in the South Bend Tribune, becoming the first openly gay municipal leader in Indiana. If nominated, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay presidential nominee. Buttigieg ran for chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017, running as a dark horse candidate with the backing of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean. However, Buttigieg withdrew from the race on the day of the election, acknowledging his long-shot candidacy. Buttigieg married his husband, Chasten Glezman, in June 2018.
Buttigieg has spent much of his time as mayor of South Bend focusing on redevelopment and construction, such as implementing a project to repair or demolish targeted properties across the city and adding pedestrian and bike-friendly amenities to city streets. Buttigieg is making the case that South Bend's economic struggles are a microcosm of the problems the country is experiencing. The city saw a declining population due to the loss of factory jobs, but it has increased since Buttigieg took office. He has focused on improving higher education and health care in the city. In the video announcing his exploratory committee, Buttigieg emphasizes the need for a "fresh start" in American politics. He also discusses the issues important to him as a member of the millennial generation, saying: "We're the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11, and we're the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents. Unless we do something different."
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