BURLINGTON, N.C. — Mayor of Burlington Ian Baltutis '08 is among many millennial mayors across the nation who have endorsed former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg for president. The group — Mayors for Pete — is actively working on the ground within their individual communities to rally support on behalf of Buttigieg. Baltutis said as mayors, they were excited to see him step up and run for national office.
“I think all of us mayors, when we get together and we talk about the challenges our communities face, we often say, like, the federal government just doesn't seem to get what we're struggling with here on the ground,” Baltutis said. “And so the opportunity to have somebody who's so recently been active in revitalizing a community and the city of South Bend is a great example.”
Buttigieg isn’t the only candidate with mayoral experience in the Democratic primary. Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders started his political career serving as the 37th Mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Michael Bloomberg — who served for twelve years as the mayor of New York City — is among the Democrats who have mayoral experience. That being said, Baltutis said Buttigieg’s experience is what can get him elected.
“It's been an exciting year to see folks who have been mayor at some point in their career stepping up to run,” Baltutis said. “But again, I think Pete comes from that middle American community. New York is its very own special ecosystem, and they struggle with things very different from the vast majority of the over 19,000 cities and towns in the United States, so I think Pete comes with a much better set of experiences to bring that to Washington.”
Baltutis sees a little of himself in Buttigieg, as he is just four years older.
“I get asked all the time when I'm going to run for president,” Baltutis said. “ I don't know if I'm ever going to make that jump. But just to kind of see Pete — he's only four years older than me — to see the path that he's taking in life is exciting, and I can't wait to meet him when he makes it to North Carolina.”
Pete Buttigieg is expected to visit North Carolina on Sunday, March 1 at a campaign rally in Raleigh.