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Buttigieg stumps in Webster City

Touts Medicare ‘for all who want it’

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, made a campaign stop in Webster City on Sunday afternoon. Buttigieg is running for the Democratic nomination for president.

WEBSTER CITY — With just over four months until the 2020 Iowa presidential caucuses, Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg says “this is the time for building relationships.”

Buttigieg, who is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made a campaign stop at Webster City’s West Twin Park on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re practicing a kind of organizing that’s all about relationships,” the mayor said after the event. “Many voters may not make up their minds until the last few days (before the caucuses), but we need to make sure in the weeks and months between now and then, that we’ve gotten to know them, answered their questions, reached out with our vision and done that hard work in persuading them that I’m going to be the best president.”

In front of a crowd of about 245 community members, Buttigieg talked about his plan for a “Medicare for all who want it” health care option, his promise to appoint a Secretary of Education who understands and supports public education and his belief that the same firearm weapons he used while deployed to Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy officer in 2007 should not be readily available for civilians here at home.

His message to Iowans, he said later, is that the solutions he sees to fix the country’s problems won’t be small or timid.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
A woman films a video of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, during a campaign stop in Webster City on Sunday afternoon. Buttigieg is running for the Democratic nomination for president.

“We’re going to create bold solutions to fix the problems with our country and we’re going to do it in a way that brings people together,” Buttigieg said. “We can tackle climate, gun violence, wages, health care, any of these major issues in front of us in a way that can actually unite Americans who are dangerously divided right now. That’s what my presidency will be about and that’s the kind of campaign I’m running, too.”

Kent Harfst, Webster City Recreation and Public Grounds director, said the crowd at Buttigieg’s Sunday rally was “similar to (Barack) Obama’s crowd in 2007, and that was a much sunnier day.”

Art Murray, of Webster City, is currently undecided on who he plans to support during the Iowa caucuses, so he wanted to come hear Buttigieg speak and “get a view of some of his opinions.”

“Being a veteran myself, I was interested in listening to him since he is a veteran, compared to a current president who has gone out of his way to not be a veteran,” Murray said. “He came off very positive to me.”

Murray said he liked the emphasis Buttigieg put on having an education secretary who supports public education, as well as how he answered questions from the crowd without “getting flustered” or hesitating. Murray hasn’t made a final decision on who he will support, but he said he has a “very positive” impression on the 37-year-old Indiana mayor.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
A crowd of about 245 attended the campaign rally for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, in Webster City on Sunday afternoon.

“And I think anyways, this election is a sort of changing of the guard from the old politicians in their 60s and 70s, to some of the younger, up-and-coming politicians who are saying, ‘It is our time to start making the decisions for the country, so let us get up and say our bit,'” Murray said.

Karen Mason, of Webster City, said she thinks Buttigieg’s ideas make a lot of sense.

“I particularly like his Medicare for all who want it, because I think there are people who want to keep their insurance and they should be able to,” she said. “I think that he is a smart guy with a lot of great ideas, and he’s had the life experience that makes him empathetic to a lot of different kinds of people.”

Mason made it a priority to attend Sunday’s political rally “because I consider it a great privilege to live in Iowa and be able to hear these people and their ideas and participate in our democracy,” she said.

There are four months and 11 days until the Iowa caucuses, and the Buttigieg campaign is moving forward in the Hawkeye State.

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, made a campaign stop in Webster City on Sunday afternoon. Buttigieg is running for the Democratic nomination for president.

“It feels like there’s tremendous energy and momentum right now,” Buttigieg said, “but we’ve got a lot of work to do to build up to a win.”