weather icon Clear

Pete Buttigieg says Nevada’s diversity, economy serve as map for country

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg returned this week to Las Vegas, where he shared his unique mix of youthful idealism tempered with moderate policy plans in an interview with the Review-Journal.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor pledged to beef up Nevada staffing operations and visit the early caucus state more frequently in the future, saying that he has now gained the name recognition and campaign funds necessary to make a harder push in the Silver State.

“Nevada is going to be absolutely crucial in the pathway to the nomination,” Buttigieg said. “I think it’s part of how I will become the nominee.”

Buttigieg said the diversity and “future-oriented nature” of Las Vegas in areas like solar power show the direction the country and its economy are traveling, and scoring well here would be a strong indicator of whether his national message is resonating.

He touted his Douglass Plan, named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as a way to provide increased health care, education and economic opportunities to diverse communities and specifically African-Americans. He said President Donald Trump uses immigration policy to divide the country, when it should be used to make families whole and for the country’s economic benefit.

Looking at inequality

But Buttigieg isn’t the only one shopping far-reaching plans for racial equality in Nevada.

Sen. Cory Booker, an African-American, has his own set of plans for lifting black and brown neighborhoods, as does former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, the only Latino in the race. Sen. Kamala Harris, an African-American woman and the daughter of immigrants, is proposing a $100 billion investment just to close the racial gap in home ownership.

Each of these candidates has made a case to Nevadans while visiting the state more frequently than Buttigieg. So why should voters rally behind a white man’s plan instead?

“It is the most comprehensive plan to deal with systemic racism in this country that’s been put forward in (any) campaign,” Buttigieg said of the Douglass Plan.

He said his plan looks specifically at how racial inequality is interconnected with various parts of American life. It would cut jail populations by half without increasing crime, for example, as well as expunge criminal records as the country works to legalize marijuana.

“But we’re not reducing the black experience to the experience with criminal justice,” Buttigieg said. “I want to be talking and acting on solutions that are coming from communities of color. That’s where the entrepreneurship work is so important.”

That work would include a goal that 25 percent of all federal contracting go to minority-owned businesses, as well as reforming the credit scoring process to allow minority-owned businesses greater access to investment capital.

“This is not a specialty issue,” Buttigieg said. “This is a conversation that frankly a lot of white Americans need to have too. Because everybody is worse off living in a country that is divided by race.”

Health care transition

Buttigieg, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, is the mayor of a town that has struggled with gun violence,. He favors a fairly moderate gun control plan: Universal background checks, disarming domestic abusers and an assault weapon ban.

Asked if the next president would need to go further than those measures, Buttigieg said the first step should be breaking the Washington gridlock on these three policy proposals. They are widely supported by the American people, inexpensive and would save thousands of lives each year, he said. The country could then consider further action.

Buttigieg also favors more moderate approaches to health care and college education than Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“What I believe is that any time a politician uses a phrase like ‘Medicare for All,’ they have a responsibility to explain what it would actually take to get there,” Buttigieg said.

He favors a transition into a Medicare for All system, in which individuals can choose to purchase Medicare or something like it on health care exchanges. He believes people will naturally gravitate to the “more cost-effective, more attractive and more efficient” public option, which will grow large enough to make the transition more palatable for those on private insurance or those working who may lose their jobs.

“The idea that we can just throw that switch and everything would work well — I don’t think that’s the answer for this country,” Buttigieg said.

Although the 37-year-old is one of the few candidates to have attended college in this millennium and has, with his husband, amassed more than $100,000 in student loan debt, Buttigieg said the math simply isn’t there for free, universal college education and debt forgiveness. Costs and debts for low-and-middle-income students should be reduced, but wea

lthy families can and should pay their own way.

Buttigieg said his sense of urgency comes from a personal sense of belonging to the generation that has the most to lose if the country fails to act or gain if these issues are addressed.

“You get a lot of credit in politics for just describing the problem in the best language possible,” Buttigieg said. “I’m interested in solving the problem in whatever way works.”

Contact Rory Appleton at rappleton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0276. Follow @RoryDoesPhonics on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Pentagon conducts 1st test of previously banned missile

The test off the coast of California on Sunday marked the resumption of an arms competition that some analysts worry could increase U.S.-Russian tensions.

US prisons chief removed in wake of Epstein’s death

Attorney General William Barr has removed the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons from his position more than a week after millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein took his own life while in federal custody.

‘Absurd’ is Danish PM’s response to Trump wanting to buy Greenland

Greenland is not for sale and U.S. President Donald Trump’s idea of buying the semi-autonomous Danish territory in the Arctic from Denmark is “an absurd discussion,” Denmark’s prime minister said.

Report: US talks secretly to Venezuela’s socialist leader

The goal of the outreach is to ratchet up pressure on the regime by contributing to the knife fight the U.S. believes is taking place behind the scenes.