By Kim Kilbride, The South Bend Tribune
Democrat says city needs improvement in areas of economic development, education, safety.
SOUTH BEND - Saying it's time for the city to have a "fresh start," 29-year-old Pete Buttigieg officially announced his candidacy for mayor of South Bend Saturday.
Buttigieg said he has the energy, the education and the experience to do the job.
If elected, the Democrat said he'll focus on strengthening the local economy and attracting and retaining businesses.
And he'll forge new partnerships between the city and its schools.
Buttigieg said he'll also focus on creating a helpful and friendly city administration, perhaps by establishing a phone line that residents could call with city-related questions.Transparency of city government is also important, he said. If elected, he'll use the Internet to ensure that taxpayers have access to information explaining how their tax dollars are used.
He'll also focus on public safety, he said, by "empowering neighborhoods."
Finally, Buttigieg said he will help South Bend create stronger connections with the region and beyond.
Buttigieg worked for McKinsey & Co., a consulting firm, where he was responsible for advising senior business and government leaders on economic development, energy policy and other issues.
His work took him around the country and the world, including to Iraq and Afghanistan.He was valedictorian at St. Joseph's High School and graduated from Harvard. He then studied economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
While his career has mainly been in the private sector, Buttigieg was most recently the Democratic nominee for state treasurer, getting more than 600,000 votes.
He cofounded the Democratic Renaissance Project, a national organization of leaders that focus on bringing new ideas into public debates, and he is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project.
Of his youthfulness, Buttigieg, who is single and lives in the same North Shore Triangle area where he grew up, said, "Some say you need to wait in line. (But) I don't think we can wait to bring new ideas to the city."
As the campaign unfolds, he said, he will offer more specific ideas he has for improving South Bend.Other Democratic mayoral candidates include Mike Hamann, Mike Dollinger and Ryan Dvorak. The Rev. Barrett Berry has also said he's considering throwing his hat in the ring.