Buttigieg Talks Climate Change, Military Issues at Winterset Town Hall
WINTERSET, Iowa – Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a town hall event Monday at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Winterset.
Hundreds of supporters and reporters filled the room in Winterset on Monday to hear the mayor speak. Despite the cold temperatures and the snow-covered roads, people began lining up an hour before the doors for the event were to open. Reporters from local and national media outlets scanned the crowd for potential interview subjects as music played and people chatted with the person next to them.
Buttigieg spoke for nearly thirty minutes before opening it up to the audience for questions. The questions ranged from climate change to abortion and were mostly friendly. One man, however, was clearly upset with Buttigieg for accepting campaign donations from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, an advocate for charter schools. Buttigieg defended himself, saying he is working to build a wide coalition of supporters.
A somber moment came when a woman, who identified herself as a veteran and a military mother, asked about victims of sexual assault in the military. Buttigieg commended Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination this year, for her work on the issue.
Buttigieg was also critical of President Trump’s handling of the current situation with Iran. As a veteran, he said he has a different approach to honoring those in uniform than Pres. Trump. “You don’t honor troops by sending them into conflicts that could have been avoided,” he said. “You honor troops by bringing endless wars to an end.”
Overall, Buttigieg offered voters nothing new at this event. He repeated statements and talking points from previous campaign events and debates. When he talked about his faith, he said that “God does not belong to a political party.” When asked about abortion, he said he would only appoint justices who support Roe v. Wade. And when asked about climate change, he said he would act on day one of his administration to confront the issue.
The last question of the day came from a 9-year-old boy named Edward Kennedy. Kennedy was even dressed as Mr. Buttigieg, with a white button-down shirt and blue tie similar to those the mayor wears on the campaign trail. The young Mr. Kennedy, whose grandmother said she pulled him out of school for the day to attend the event, asked Mr. Buttigieg what our planet will look like in ninety years if we fail to act on climate change.
While Buttigieg failed to answer the question directly, he told the crowd he was committed to addressing climate change. The young boy even got a shout out from Buttigieg at the CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic debate Tuesday night at Drake University in Des Moines.