The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has an ambitious career goal: become the youngest U.S. president in history.
Thirty-seven-year-old Peter Buttigieg announced Wednesday that he's entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. If Buttigieg were to win the nomination, he would be the first openly gay presidential nominee from a major political party. A Naval Reserve officer who took a seven-month leave of absence during his first term as mayor to serve in Afghanistan, Buttigieg also worked as a consultant at McKinsey before pursuing a political career.
Here's how he's championed small-business owners as the mayor of South Bend.
Attracting investment for small businesses
In 2018, Buttigieg helped South Bend partner with the nonprofit Accelerator for America to identify new "Opportunity Zones," or areas that are struggling to generate economic growth. The Opportunity Zones use tax incentives to attract investment in local businesses and communities and help startups get off the ground.
Under Buttigieg's leadership, South Bend's Department of Community Investment helped growing businesses secure $1.2 million in gap financing loans through the city's Industrial Revolving Loan Fund, which helps businesses in the manufacturing, transportation, communication, wholesale trade, and service sectors. City-supported projects also added 675 jobs in 2017, Buttigieg said in his state of the union speech last March.
Advocating for diversity in business
In 2018, Buttigieg commission a year-long diversity disparity study to measure how often South Bend hires minority-owned companies for city contracts. Buttigieg's plan is to use the results of the study to set future goals for working with diverse vendors.
A Rhodes Scholar, Buttigieg graduated from Harvard in 2004 and earned a first-class honors degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford in 2007. He was elected mayor of South Bend in 2011.