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Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg's Tuesday visit to Louisville focused on issues ranging from health care to arms control.
Sam Upshaw Jr., Louisville Courier Journal

WASHINGTON – Four years before Pete Buttigieg launched his attempt to become the first person to jump from a mayor's office to the White House, he was invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

] At a forum for "smart cities", Buttigieg has launched a new initiative to initiate innovative solutions to local issues.

He had long imagined South Bend, Indiana, as a "beta city" that has the perfect size for using his data-driven background with consulting firm McKinsey to test great ideas.

"The dream is to actually have a real version of Sim City on hand," he told Fortune magazine after launching the MetroLab network at the White House in 2015.

Buttigieg is becoming increasingly different As the leader of the Democratic nomination, he told US TODAY, as he did during a fierce appearance in the debate last week, that his actions in Indiana reflect the arguments he puts forward, why his presidential message is better.

Contrary to former Vice President Joe Biden – who said when he announced his campaign that "America will come back as before" – Buttigieg counters that "we need to find a new future".

"I do not agree that there is a return to normal," said Buttigieg during the debate.

But despite his start-up mentality, Buttigieg does not sell himself as the biggest disturber.

The test it-out approach he pursued in South Bend, he said d. shows why, on topics such as Medicare, for anyone separating from his more liberal colleagues, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, boldness and pragmatism must be combined instead of fistfighting.

"I'm not afraid to stand or even fight for what I believe in," Buttigieg told TODAY. "But if you hear the word" fight "so often, it sounds like it's about fighting." Here, in my opinion, there is a risk that we will get lost.

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is campaigning on September 28, 2019 at the Sparks High School. (Photo: JASON BEAN / RGJ)

Big hurdle

Buttigieg still faces a major hurdle to convince people that he is the leader of the most powerful country in the country, with a population of around 100,000 the US can become the world – something that has never been done.

"It would be unbelievably impressive," said Mark Jones of the Children's Institute for Urban Research. "Just as Donald Trump's choice was impressive."

Buttigieg is the first presidential candidate to boast of having the " most intelligent sewers in the world," an innovation he has become known for, but which is usually not an issue with the Commander-in-Chief.

And South Bend still has many problems – including above-average poverty rates, below-average incomes, racial disparities, and an increase in violent crimes – which Buttigieg did not admit

The first democratic debate asked why his police department was disproportionately white , He responded frankly, "Because I could not make it."

But Butigigieg has stood out among his peers, even though he took office in 2012 and was the youngest mayor of a city that is South Bend or larger.

When MetroLab was launched in the White House, South Bend was overshadowed by the much larger participating communities in size – Chicago, Dallas, and New York City.

He overtook New York City mayor Bill de Blasio in the presidential contest and was approved by dozens of mayors from around the country who called him their role model.

Private-sector officials The election of South Bend – because of Buttigieg – as a place where new initiatives were tested led to a culture of innovation and a "wonderful talent promoter". Mark Muro, political director of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, said The 37-year-old mayor was not only a "pioneer in younger, more data-centric and more sophisticated mayors," but also distinguishes himself as he does the technical with the human connects and communicates big ideas.

] "The hybrid skills he offers in a big story about the whereabouts and necessity of solving problems in the real world are very narrative-wise," Muro said. "And narration is really important to become president and to be one."

Prior to a rally where South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced that he would seek the candidacy of South Bend presidential Democrats, the workers cleared the water from a leaky roof of the old Studebaker auto factory on April 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

A City in Decline

At the heart of Buttigieg's story is South Bend, the fourth-largest Indiana city, located just below the Michigan state border. It used to be bigger. With an economy historically shaped by manufacturers of cars and metal products, the city lost a quarter of its population in the 1970s and 1980s when production declined.

When Buttigieg launched his presidential campaign in April, he did so from a former Studebaker factory. The six-story vehicle assembly plant, which the renovators call the monolithic shadow of the past, closed in the 1960s and is turning into what may be the largest mixed-use technology campus in the Midwest.

Buttigieg says the work illustrates how far progress has progressed Not by selling with resentment and nostalgia an impossible promise to return to a bygone era, but by working towards "something completely different".

"One could argue that the entire industrial Midwest is somewhat similar to the Studebaker plant," Buttigieg said TODAY to USA when asked if there is a national equivalent. "Huge untapped potential. We need to fix a lot of things, but a chance to use what we've always had and find new value in it. "

Development of new potentials

In South Bend, the University of Notre Dame with its enormous financial and i intellectual resources are still of great value. [19659005] But according to Notre Dame graduate Andrew Wiand, the school was isolated from the city for years.

Wiand was among those who tried to change this through a startup, enFocus, to get clever young people to get involved and help solve problems.

Buttigieg's early acceptance of the idea was crucial to getting enFocus off the ground, Wiand said.

"What was his mantra was" South Bend is not sucking, "said Wiand. "I know, that sounds easy. But we speak of the permission to believe in oneself as the first piece that actually does something.

Buttigieg also hired the youngest graduate Santiago Garces, first by enFocus and then directly as the city's first chief innovation officer – a post that is unusual for one The size of the city of South Bend.

Garces, who is now Pittsburgh's director of innovation and performance, found the work with Buttigieg exciting but demanding.

"I think he sees government as a kind of moral activity that requires it. I go back to what is good and bad and try to re-judge decisions that are good for society grasp, "said Garces. "As an engineer, you sometimes say," Oh my god, man! Would you just tell me what you want! "But in the end you are betting on a better result."

And these results led to national and international attention.

Photos: This is what South Bend looks like after Mayor Pete Buttigieg's term in office.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg march in Des Moines, Iowa, during the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry, Saturday, September 21, 2019. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall, AP)

Outstanding

The advanced sensor technology that controls South Bend's wastewater flow and helps save the city by an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars became the core of the company now being sold The product was used in cities around the world.

The partnership with Notre Dame on wastewater technology and other topics contributed to the launch of the MetroLab network at the White House.

In 2018, South Bend proposed more than 300 other cities from 19659005 Garces, which helped to optimize the fleet and introduce a new paramedic program to reduce calls from frequent users, was invited to participate An elite group of data chiefs cities that Harvard Kennedy School brought together to work together on new ways to transform local governments.

"There were a number of cities that either br We should pay attention to our attention, or we have seen what they did," said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the program "Innovations in the American government."

"Among these, South Bend stood out. "

The Printer Institute also found South A great place for pilot initiatives, both because of its size and because of its mayor.

"The source of innovation can be found in places where things are not going well. And Pete has recognized that, "said Lawrence Greenspun, Director of Public Sector Engagement at Drucker.

More than a dozen cities have since implemented a public-sector management training program developed in partnership with South Bend, and Drucker is now leading a lifelong learning initiative there with seed money from Walmart and Google.

The goal is to provide every resident easy access to the education or training programs needed in a rapidly changing economy.

Try It

Buttigieg said he showed a willingness to try something new in South Bend – but try it first – helps explain why he does not There is no such big change in healthcare as government-led Medicare for all approaches favored by Warren and Sanders. As part of its "Medicare for All Who Wants" plan, people have the option of participating in a government health program or staying with an employer-sponsored or individualized private insurance company.

"We're talking about the biggest innovation in US healthcare since the innovation of Medicare itself," he said. "But I do not expect it to work for everyone straight away, so I think it's so important not to force people to do it."

Some of his other suggestions – like his plans to fight racial inequalities Strengthening rural communities, tackling climate change and improving psychosocial services also include efforts to unlock local events.

During the debate, Warren countered that Medicare for All was the "gold standard", arguing that Buttigieg's plan would not make it affordable for everyone.

Biden denied this. He used the words "back to normal" and said that one of the reasons he runs was due to his age and experience.

It is accompanied by wisdom, "he said.

Paullina Mills, a substitute teacher in Iowa, who opened a city hall on the day after the debate Buttigieg's visit to Ames said she was not worried about Buttigieg's limited experience in higher offices. Mills, who said she decided a week ago to support Buttigieg, added that the Mayor's experience as a Navy intelligence officer was also an important context.

"Experience is always a good thing, but not necessarily a deal breaker," she said. "There's obviously no need to be a seasoned politician to be elected president when Donald Trump can." Me think he has the necessary experience and a few more. "

Although some mayors, whose support is highly valued, have not yet selected a candidate, they have many compliments for Buttigieg.

" He is very high among the mayors His colleagues were considered thought leaders … and action leaders, "said Steve Benjamin, Columbia Mayor, SC, and the immediate past president of the US Mayors' Conference, at which Buttigieg 2018 launched an initiative to help cities Workforce.

As the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, launched a national initiative in 2017 In order to scale and replicate local solutions to economic uncertainty, he had a selection of mayors who wanted to become part of "Accelerator for America." Garcetti chose Buttigieg as one of the founding members and chose South Bend as the launch pad. As part of the program, South Bend has created a template that will allow it to use new federal opportunity zones to encourage investment in low-income areas.

Garcetti is unwilling to support a candidate. But the mayor of a city 40 times the size of South Bend said he had no problem with imagining Buttigieg making the giant leap to the White House

or turned on, "said Garcetti "He always showed them that he is absolutely ready.

Contribution: Barbara Rodriguez of the Des Moines Register.

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