Meet Pete Buttigieg. He’s Maltese, but don’t let the name fool you. This guy is no ordinary Joe. According to a lead columnist for The New York Times, he could become the next US President, or as the newspaper put it, the first gay president.
For now, he’s set his eyes on Democrat leadership. He just joined the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, a role which will be hugely influential in how the party organises itself in the Trump era. There are six candidates vying for the position and he is not being touted as the most likely to win. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start paying serious attention to him.
Let’s get through some facts first. This guy is 34 years old and he’s a hugely successful mayor of a town called South Bend. Here’s how the Washington Post describes him: “Buttigieg, who would be the youngest and the first openly gay leader of the DNC, was elected mayor at age 29 and attracted an unusual amount of fanfare. A Rhodes scholar, management consultant, and Iraq War protester-turned-Afghanistan War veteran, he presided over a story of economic growth that plenty of media trekked to South Bend to tell.”
If you want to know how he drove South Bend to economic success, his brilliant TedX talk about innovation goes some way into explaining it. It should also serve as a how-to guide for all the politicians, planners and architects in Malta. Seriously, just watch it. It’s only 11 minutes long.
If you don’t have time for that, just read his amazing coming out letter.
But if being a young gay military man who transformed his home city into an economic success story wasn’t enough, wait till you hear about what he did to fight corruption.
“We’ve used technology to enable local government to be more transparent. For example any time my government cuts a cheque and makes any payment, you can go online to see how much and to whom. Measures like this build confidence and allows us to serve residence better and allows us to succeed in our fundamental mission which is to allow people to achieve their goal in life and in business.”
Meanwhile, in Malta, the canvasser of Education Minister Evarist Bartolo delivers €9 million worth of cheques by hand.
And Buttigieg has also applied tech to better environmental management. Here’s how he described it when he was in Malta for the CHOGM Business Forum.
“We created smart sewers, and are the first city in the world to move waste-water management into the cloud. The city is now able to monitor and actively control the wastewater collection system. It has helped cut down on sewer back-ups and overflows.”
We’re almost 100% sure he was inspired by Valley Road, Birkirkara. Let’s hope our politicians get inspired by him.
Now hear his pitch for how he plans to change the Democratic Party…