South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, held an event in downtown Austin during the Pride parade Saturday.
Danielle Skidmore, who said she hasn’t decided which candidate she will vote for in the primary next year, said having Buttigieg in town during Pride was exciting.
“As an out and proud transgender woman, seeing representation, seeing somebody who is part of the LGBTQIA community, running for president, a major party candidate, that’s historic,” she said. Skidmore herself unsuccessfully ran for Austin City Council last fall.
During his stop at Buford's Backyard Beer Garden, Buttigieg praised Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who announced in April that he was endorsing Buttigieg rather than either of the two Texas Democrats running for president.
Buttigieg said Adler is “so respected” among other mayors in the country and that he wants Washington to look more like “some of the country’s best run cities,” including Austin.
“It is time for us to hear a little more from American mayors and that's part of the idea of putting one in the White House,” Buttigieg told the crowd.
During his speech, he talked about gun control, access to abortion, gay rights, organized labor, education and climate change – issues important to liberals. But he also reached out to conservative-leaning voters by stressing the importance of values, patriotism and religion.
“This is about our deepest values and this is the year we break the spell that has people thinking that the word 'values' is a conservative concept,” said Buttigieg, a veteran who served in Afghanistan.
Brandi Doyle, who described herself as a Republican and a conservative, said she attended the event because she's looking for an alternative to Donald Trump. She said she has been unhappy with his presidency.
“I am looking for a more centrist and moderate Democrat that I can vote for,” she said.
Doyle, who lives in Austin, said she hasn’t decided who to vote for in the primary, but she is interested in Buttigieg because she wants a candidate who can unify the country.
“I am looking for someone who can represent the country as a whole and bring both sides together, as opposed to someone who is at the far reaches of either party,” she said.