It’s official. The first openly gay candidate has entered the fray for the presidential nomination. Pete Buttigieg is the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is also married to a man, Chasten Glezman, and would be the first openly gay president if elected. Buttigieg is a Rhodes scholar and the current youngest mayor of a U.S. city with more than 100,000 people. He is also a military veteran who served in the Navy and went to Afganistan in 2014.
Buttigieg announced yesterday that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee. In his announcement, Buttigieg emphasized the changing face of the Democratic party and called for a new generation of leaders. Buttigieg himself is barely older than minimum age to run for president. “I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now,” he said in the video announcement. “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. We can’t just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future.”
When asked about being the first gay candidate, Buttigieg told the Wall Street Journal that he is “mindful of the fact that this just might make it a little easier for the next person who comes along.”
To support his candidacy, Buttigieg emphasized improvements in South Bend during his tenure as mayor. During this time, the unemployment rate in the city fell drastically. Despite his achievements, Buttigieg is a political newcomer who faces longshot chances in a field crowded with well-known candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Nonetheless, having an openly gay candidate is a historic moment in this election.