MANCHESTER, N.H. – Former South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg arrived in New Hampshire on Tuesday morning from Iowa, returning to the Rex Theatre as one of his first stops in the final week before the polls open in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary.
Introduced by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH), Buttigieg recalled the numerous times he has asked Granite Staters for their votes over the past few months and asked them once again, stressing the importance of their vote next Tuesday. He also praised New Hampshire voters for their sense of responsibility when it comes to addressing the issues of governance.
“One of the things that I admire about New Hampshire is that there is a culture of participation here, a culture of ownership All the different ways that people seek elected office here, or the tradition of the town meeting and the town hall, there’s a sense that if something needs to be changed in your community or your state you personally have something to do with personally being responsible with fixing it. And we need that spirit more than ever in our national politics.
Buttigieg rattled off a myriad of reasons of immediate action is needed on various issues ranging from climate change to health insurance inform, but also believed that the path to creating that change included a new voice from outside of Washington and a campaign with an inclusive approach.
“This is not a time for my way or the highway politics, this is not a time for when if you don’t agree with me on 100 percent on everything, I don’t want you at my side at all,” he said.
Buttigieg took written questions from members of the audience chosen at random from a fish bowl on the federal budget, the war on drugs, treating Alzheimer’s, controlling pharmaceutical prices, Donald Trump’s response to Iran, and college debt.
He also built upon those questions by advocating for free college for many but not all, ending mass incarceration, legalizing marijuana, making sure the top one percent of Americans pay taxes, addressing the crisis of belonging behind the opioid crisis among others.
Kelsey Hoak of Bedford had not seen Buttigieg in person before, but decided within the past few weeks that she will vote for him.
“I really like his focus on making education affordable for bachelors and masters degrees,” she said. “I also think it’s important for teachers to afford being a teacher. I have close friends and family members who are teachers and I don’t think they’re compensated enough.”
Hoak says she was impressed with the event, as was Ben Gayman of Manchester. Unlike Hoak though, Gayman has not made a decision on who he will support yet, saying Buttigieg is in his “top five.”
“It was great, Pete is a great speaker. He’s got well-developed ideas and great values, which I appreciate,” he said. “I’m still thinking about whether to support him. We’ve still got a whole week to go to think about it.”
Buttigieg arrived in Manchester at 3:30 a.m., receiving the endorsement of Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess prior to the event. Following the event in Manchester, Buttigieg left for scheduled events later in the day in Hampton, Portsmouth, Laconia and Concord.