WASHINGTON — The solutions that America’s cities need do not have to come from Washington because nobody can better build communities than America’s mayors, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, told the Conference of American Mayors on Thursday.
The former South Bend, Indiana mayor, who previously served as a member of the Conference of Mayors’ advisory board, said that climate change is approaching a point of no return and cities are the ones taking the lead on this issue.
“We have to not only rejoin the Paris Agreement, it’s time to convene a Pittsburgh summit to empower the communities that have already been finding local solutions, not waiting for Washington to catch up,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg also said that as president he would put forward a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan that would allow mayors to tailor solutions for their populations and their economies.
Buttigieg said that he wants to reduce health disparities by creating health equity zones that allow communities to target strategies that work best for their neighborhoods.
“We are going to confront the crisis of mental health and addiction care through $10 million in healing and belonging grants so communities can leverage their own ingenuities and expertise,” he said.
As president, Buttigieg said that he would bring a mayor’s perspective to the presidency, saying mayors are the ones on the ground dealing with people’s problems on a personal level.
One year ago Thursday, at last year’s mayors’ conference, Buttigieg launched his exploratory committee for president. He recalled having a staff of four and an unknown name. But over the last year, he said, his life has changed.
“A year after that improbable beginning, we are just days away from being able to reach a historic finish … beginning in the Iowa caucuses and move on to the nomination for the American presidency,” Buttigieg said.