Boston, MA– At a forum yesterday on “Millennials in Politics” at Northeastern University, Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sat down with WBUR reporter Kimberly Atkins to talk about his policy views and his 2020 presidential candidacy. More than 1,000 students and Boston locals showed up to hear the 37-year-old politician speak.

Originally the event planned for only 200 attendees, but the organizers relocated to a larger space as it became clear there was a ton of interest in the millennial Midwesterner, Politico reported. (Born in 1982, Buttigieg just makes the cutoff for the millennial generation, which includes those born from 1981 to 1996.)

Often simply called “Mayor Pete,” due to the challenging spelling of his last name (it’s pronounced “boot-idge-edge”), Buttigieg has been Mayor of South Bend since 2012. He is a war veteran and is openly gay. During the first quarter of this year, his presidential campaign drew in $7 million dollars in online fundraising. He’s very popular with millennials, as his message resonates with the generation.

Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal and is also calling for universal background checks for gun purchasing, single-payer healthcare, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

At Northeastern yesterday, Buttigieg touched on the generational differences among voters today, noting opportunities for collaboration and agreement between conservatives and liberals. He talked about the increasing representation of millennials in government and how they’re positioned to take a long-term view of policy consequences (for example, around climate change).

To great applause, Buttigieg said, “We’re not even having a debate between whether [the Republican Party’s] plan for climate is better than our plan for climate; it’s just a plan versus no plan, because one side’s committed to the idea that we don’t even need a plan, which is nuts.”

He continued, “So, if you care about that, then you have to hold elected officials responsible… the reason they don’t respond to the policy preferences of young people is because they’re not afraid of young people. They will be, if you fire them.”

On economic policy, he said, “...[economic] growth is necessary, but not sufficient for us to all be better off.” Buttigieg talked about millennials having “a really finely tuned antenna for hypocrisy” and how that has contributed to the decline of religiosity among millennials who associate religion with a political party.

To date, Buttigieg is polling around 3%, with former Vice President Joe Biden in the lead with 33%. However, the huge pool of Democratic presidential candidates makes the polling data a little unreliable this early on, says FiveThirtyEight.

Image via Wikimedia Commons / marcn