Printed in The South Bend Tribune

April 24, 2011

The field of Democratic candidates for mayor of South Bend is truly encouraging. Each of the four brings a different set of qualifications for the job. Each offers a new approach to the city's considerable challenges -- but one clearly offers the brightest hope for our city's future.

Ryan Dvorak has perhaps the widest range of relevant experience. He's a local lawyer and businessman, and a respected and effective member of the Indiana House of Representatives. He also worked for five years with U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer in Washington.

Quietly competent, Dvorak would know how to get things done at all governmental levels.

Mike Hamann's political experience is on the local level. He was a very effective St. Joseph County commissioner and is now a county councilman. A teacher at St. Joseph's High School, he speaks with passion and credibility on the importance of education to this community's future.

Like Dvorak, Hamann has managed to navigate the political currents while preserving his personal integrity and decency.

Barrett Berry is a newcomer to local politics who gained much of his experience on the East Coast where he worked in a succession of positions in the Clinton campaign and administration.

Berry speaks passionately and compellingly about wanting to use his experience to better the place where he grew up. He wants to bring more voices into the governmental process, and to make sure that all of South Bend's people and neighborhoods are recognized and served.

Pete Buttigieg is the other "outsider" in this race, though he grew up here.

Buttigieg acquired a truly outstanding education and has both training and experience in economic issues on the national and international levels.

As the youngest of the candidates, 29-year-old Buttigieg exudes energy and enthusiasm. But in interviews and forums, it is the depth of understanding and penetrating intelligence of his answers that puts him a bit ahead of the rest of the class.

To us, one measure of the high quality of this group of candidates is the fact that we've previously endorsed three of them in other races. (And the other candidate, Berry, hasn't run for office before.)

Pete Buttigieg offers more reason to believe the status quo will be discarded and the clearest vision for building a new and better South Bend.

Jobs and the local economy are at the top of every candidate's list of challenges. Buttigieg already has fresh, creative ideas to offer on that front, and his diligent style of learning from the voters as he campaigns seems to offer the possibility of more answers from new places and new alliances to serve as catalysts for progress.

We endorse Pete Buttigieg.