BERLIN — Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg asked his audience at Berlin City Hall last Saturday night to visualize the first day when Donald Trump is no longer president.
He then said Trump will leave a divided and polarized country.
Buttigieg, 37, of South Bend, Ind., said he is confident he can move the country forward.
“You can’t run for office if you don’t have a sense of hope,” he said, to a large crowd that gathered as he brought his four-day N.H. bus tour to Berlin.
Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier introduced Buttigieg, saying he admired his fellow mayor for stepping up to help his hometown after others had written it off.
For his part, Buttigieg said Berlin reminded him of his hometown and has the same spirit to pick itself up.
Buttigieg said he supports commonsense gun laws, believes this country has to address climate change and should not cut regulations and taxes on corporations.
He also said government should also not dictate what women can do with their bodies. Openly gay, Buttigieg said his marriage depended on the vote of a single Supreme Court Justice.
Government’s role, Buttigieg said, is to solve problems, and he called for a secretary of education that believes in education. He said he supports Medicare for everyone who wants it but would not force people and companies to give up private health-insurance policies. Buttigieg said this country needs to deal with mental health and make it as common to talk about as physical health.
He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves for eight years and did a deployment in Afghanistan. He proposed increasing service opportunities for young people by expanding opportunities in the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps and creating new service organizations dedicated to strengthening communities.
During the Q and A, one woman asked how Buttigieg would convince the country to support his mental health platform.
Pointing out that a show of hands reveals most of those in attendance had a friend or relative with mental health issues, Buttigieg said all families are touched by it. Many with mental health issues first get help in jail, he said. Addiction, he said, is a medical problem and not a moral issue.
Asked about climate change, Buttigieg said we owe the next generation better than business as usual. He said we need national solutions and investment in alternative sources. Getting net carbon neutral by 2050 would create an estimated three million jobs. He said the United States needs to lead the world on climate control and earn the good will that has been squandered by the current administration.
Buttigieg was asked what he would do to make Medicare more affordable. Buttigieg said there needs to be an affordable deductible and the country needs to manage pricing, including drug prices. He said out-of-pocket costs must be made affordable.
A seventh-grader student asked Buttigieg his plan for public education.
“We need to make sure you are set up to succeed in a world that is continually changing,” he responded.
Buttigieg said students need to be taught critical thinking and said arts education and civics are not a luxury.
He was asked his thoughts on the affordability of education.
Buttigieg said his spouse, a teacher, makes less than he did when working as a bartender to pay for college. He said he supports free college education for those who can’t afford one but not for those with the financial means to pay.
Lastly, Buttigieg was asked how he would improve the country’s image with our allies. He said the United States used to be a country that kept its word and our allies could depend on us. That is not the case and he said we need to keep our promises. American values make this country strong and he said the world needs us.
“We need to restore the credibility of the United States because our security depends on it and so does the stability of the world,” he said.