Central PA's LGBT News Source
At press time, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was surging to 14% in Iowa polls.
The Central Voice asked three openly-gay men involved in electoral politics to reflect on Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Alex Reber, Chris Dietz, and Ben Allatt attended a Buttigieg fundraiser in Washington, DC hosted by the LGBT-affiliated Victory Fund. Buttigieg was keynote speaker.
Alex Reber is Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Party and 1st Vice Chair of the Dauphin County Democratic Party.
“I have not decided who I will vote for in the 2020 Democratic primary,” Reber says. “I’m looking forward to the debates and hearing from our excellent group of candidates.”
He finds Buttigieg “inspiring…as an LGBT person and Millennial running for our nation’s highest office.” Reber’s most likes how “he frames the Democratic Party’s values as moral issues. He reminds us that we need to lead by our values.”
“I really like his position on abolishing the electoral college,” Reber says.
When he looked around the room where Buttigieg spoke, Reber said, “There was not a dry eye in the room when he openly shared how when he was struggling with his own sexuality.” Buttigieg told those assembled, as he has media-wide, he often wished there was a pill he could take to change how he felt or if he could just cut out that part of himself.
Reber found his story ‘relatable’.
“That is certainly something I could relate to growing up in an Evangelical church,” he said. Reber’s hopeful that “young people who see the first openly LGBT major party candidate for President will know it’s okay to be themselves and that they will be loved and accepted.” That’s what’s most inspiring to Reber about Buttigieg’s historic candidacy.
Chris Dietz currently serves as President of Millersburg borough council. He also unsuccessfully ran for the Pennsylvania House 104.
Dietz will vote for Buttigieg “because of his optimistic approach to policy, his experience being Mayor in South Bend, his military experience, and his openness about serving as an out-LGBT official.”
Dietz sees the candidate as striving “to connect with people from all backgrounds and has great interest in developing polices to give everyone a fair shot at attaining the American Dream.”
Buttigieg’s “can-do attitude and progressive plans to move government forward onto a more transparent and efficient plane” also impresses Dietz. He thinks the candidate wants to “include all Americans in the process…in sharp contrast to the current administration.” Dietz likes how Buttigieg “has the ability to inspire us, to lead us into new opportunities, and manage government bureaucracy. These are the qualities of great leaders.”
“He does not need to rely on fear as a tool motivate people. I would rather be led by proactive optimism than by soul crushing fear,” Dietz says.
Ben Allatt has served on Harrisburg City Council since 2014.
He is “excited about the diverse field of candidates for the 2020 Presidential Primary.” He’s also “happy to support Mayor Pete for a lot of reasons.”
Allatt has been “very impressed with how he has been able to conduct himself on the national stage, his degree of comfort and putting out a sense of calm leadership in a time of turbulence being projected daily from the current White House.”
He also thinks Buttigieg “he has been able to strike a chord for those who live in areas that have struggled outside of the nation’s largest metro areas. As a locally elected official I am well aware of how well versed we need to be on issues coming out of the federal and state level. The impact is seen firsthand. Mayor Pete has that advantage.”
With so many candidates running Allatt will continue listen to Buttigieg has to say.
The historic nature of Buttigieg’s run “is not lost on me,” notes Allatt. Millions of Americans are getting “a firsthand look at how natural…our LGBT lives are and can be especially when we have found the one we love. That clearly isn’t the reason why I support Mayor Pete, but it is certainly a factor that endears him to me more.”