We are living through a moment of huge upheaval, but also of great opportunity. This moment demands that our policies reflect a deep understanding of Americans’ everyday lives and embody our country’s highest values. As a former mayor and as a candidate for president, Pete has heard from voices in communities across the country about the struggles and aspirations we share as Americans. This campaign is about building the kind of democracy and society that works for all of us, and bringing the country together around big ideas that most Americans support.
This moment demands that our policies reflect a deep understanding of Americans' everyday lives and embody our country's highest values.
EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL
STRENGTHENING THE MIDDLE CLASS
BUILDING A SAFER AMERICA
EQUITABLE EDUCATION AND OPPORTUNITY
A NEW ERA FOR HEALTH IN AMERICA
RISING TO THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE
Security means ensuring every American family has safe, affordable housing.
Rent—let alone owning your own home—is simply out of reach for too many families. Pete will invest $430 billion to unlock access to affordable housing for over 7 million families. He’ll dramatically increase the supply of affordable housing by building or restoring over 2 million units for the lowest-income Americans, as well as work to reform local zoning laws to make it easier to build housing for working and middle-class families. Pete will also invest in homeownership, particularly for Black Americans, enabling 1 million more low-income families to become homeowners. And his administration will make critical investments in local infrastructure, education, and business development to ensure that every neighborhood is a neighborhood of opportunity.
Freedom means empowering our children by supporting the critical early years of child development.
The early years of child development are a time of growth, curiosity, and possibility. But the quality of early education varies significantly and it is far too expensive for many families. In many places, a year of child care costs more than a year of college tuition.
Pete’s administration will provide universal, affordable full-day early child care and pre-K for children from infancy to age 5 with a landmark $700 billion investment. He will make child care affordable for all families, and free for those in most need. Early childhood programs will be offered year-round. His administration will also promote equity across the early learning system and make the early childhood system easier to use for parents and providers.
Other critical policy areas
Security means protecting our environment and treating climate change and climate disruption like the national emergency it is.
Climate security is a life-and-death issue for our generation. Pete knows it is long overdue to take bold, decisive action to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution once and for all while creating new, high-paying jobs. We will rise to the challenge and do it in the American way–by building and innovating. We will work with communities to ensure the transition to clean energy is inclusive and fair for all. We will fight for the right to be healthy–to have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And we will prepare our military and disaster response agencies for the security threats of climate change.
Freedom means strong consumer protections that don’t allow banks to rip off or discriminate against their customers.
Overhaul the Federal Arbitration Act that stacks the deck against consumers and workers.
When your credit card company rips you off, you should have the right to a day in court with a good lawyer, full rights, and public transparency. In most cases, though, the company probably forced you to sign away that right. As consumers, we should always have the right to a fair process and strong protections that keep companies honest in the first place.
Freedom means a fair and racially-equitable criminal justice system.
Experts agree that far too many people are locked up unnecessarily in the United States. As a result, we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. If we were to reduce this rate by 50%, we would still have the 28th highest incarceration rate globally–just after Nicaragua. In some cases, incarceration actually leads to an increase in crime. It’s not just a matter of closing down prisons; we also need to invest in social services and diversion programs, and allow people to rehabilitate. We need better ways to address crime and poverty, both in the criminal justice system and in society.
We will ensure more people are free by reducing the number of people incarcerated in the United States at both the federal and state level by 50%. To achieve this, we will:
Freedom means dignity, access, and belonging.
People with disabilities are—as they have always been—an indispensable part of the American story. Yet in all facets of life, people with disabilities must contend with physical and invisible obstacles. This reality must change. As President, Pete will tirelessly advocate for people with disabilities, so they no longer have to do it on their own.
Security means protecting our democracy.
Strengthen election security.
Our democracy is sacred. But in the 21st century, it is facing unprecedented threats. We need to defend our elections with better cybersecurity and more secure voting infrastructure. We need a paper trail for every vote so Americans can have confidence that their votes are counted in election results. We need a nonpartisan and fully resourced election administration to prevent unfair partisan skewing of our elections. And we need to make clear to foreign governments that if they attempt to interfere in our elections, there will be serious consequences.
Democracy means that nothing should be allowed to overrule the vote of the American people when it comes to choosing our nation’s leader.
A National Popular Vote to replace the Electoral College.
It’s simple: the candidate who gets the most votes should win. States don’t vote, people vote, and everyone’s vote should count exactly the same. The Electoral College has to go.
The Electoral College artificially dilutes the power of minority communities and due to projected demographic trends, this problem is likely to get worse over time. We need to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a National Popular Vote so that every citizen has a say in electing our president. The best route to removing the Electoral College would be a constitutional amendment. Recognizing that this cannot be done overnight, Pete supports the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to ensure the president is chosen by the American people while we seek constitutional reform.
Security means keeping communities safe from all forms of violent extremism.
ISIS is not the only group that advances political stances through mass violence: so do white supremacist terrorists, anti-government militias, and other groups that use forms of domestic extremism.
All Americans should be able to live without fear of intimidation and violence. Today, white supremacist extremism and domestic terrorist attacks are on the rise, threatening both our citizens and the very soul of the nation. We need to heal the divides between our communities and work with religious leaders, tech companies, and other influencers to reduce hate and extremism in our homeland.
Pete will focus more resources on countering domestic terrorism while continuing the fight against international and Islamist-inspired violent extremism. He is committed to protecting all Americans from violent extremists and will never allow the office of the President to be used to amplify their hate or traffic in their conspiracy theories.
Security means a foreign policy that puts the values, goals, and national security interests of American citizens above personal political interests.
We need to fundamentally rethink our foreign policy to help America lead and shape a better world for our future. The next president will have to restore American credibility on the world stage and establish a new and higher standard for the deployment of U.S. military force. It’s time to put an end to endless war and focus on how best to use America’s strengths to address future threats, including climate security as a key basis for diplomacy. Pete is committed to reinventing institutions of international engagement to address 21st century challenges and opportunities and to reversing the rise of authoritarianism abroad while revitalizing democratic capitalism and our democracy at home.
Freedom for women doesn't mean incremental progress—it means lasting power.
Women deserve agency and opportunity in every part of their lives: at home, school, work, the doctor’s office, and the ballot box.
As President, Pete will close the pay and wealth gaps by ending workplace discrimination and harassment, investing over $50 billion to grow women-owned business, and eliminating the trade-off between career and family with affordable child care and paid family leave. He will also work to secure women’s power and influence by ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment to recognize women's equal rights in the Constitution, appointing at least 50% women to the Cabinet and judiciary and promoting gender- and racially-diverse leadership across all sectors.
Pete will prioritize advancing women’s health and choice by writing abortion rights into law, ensuring every woman has access to affordable health care, and ending the maternal mortality crisis. A Buttigieg administration will build safe, inclusive communities for women and families through accountability and culture change that combat domestic and gender-based violence, particularly against trans women and women of color.
Democracy means ensuring that our districts can’t be drawn by politicians seeking to choose their voters.
Establish independent, statewide redistricting commissions.
Voters should choose their representatives and be able to hold them accountable. But as long as politicians are drawing the lines of their districts, they will pick and choose voters to their own partisan advantage. These efforts have often built on other systemic injustices, such as exploiting residential segregation or compounding the effects of mass incarceration.
We will fight discriminatory racial gerrymandering and partisan gerrymandering–which often has the same effect–by ensuring that Congressional redistricting is conducted by independent, statewide commissions using fair and non-discriminatory redistricting rules. Our representatives deserve to be reelected for serving their communities well, not because they’re able to select whom they represent.
Security means common-sense gun laws.
Pete belongs to the generation that came of age with school shootings, accustomed to seeing the harm inflicted on our communities as 100 people die from gun violence every day. Pete knows that current gun laws are failing: they are not sufficiently protecting Americans and their communities. He sees the negative impact of our gun laws as a Mayor in South Bend, where daily crime is down but shootings, and the fear of being shot, continue to destroy families and endanger neighborhoods.
Pete knows that America can protect gun rights and balance the Second Amendment with sensible gun laws. He understands that solving the gun violence epidemic requires a comprehensive approach, and that begins with universal background checks as the foundation for reducing gun violence. Pete also understands that solutions to gun violence are not an “either-or” proposition, and universal background checks must be accompanied by a package of other reforms to reduce gun deaths nationwide — deaths caused by suicide, daily urban violence, school shootings, domestic violence, and accidents.
Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides, and Pete wants to disrupt easy access to firearms through measures including Extreme Risk Protection Orders, also known as red flag laws, and waiting periods. An overwhelming majority of Americans support these measures, and Pete is ready to work with Congress to avoid further gun tragedies.
Freedom means not having to choose between health care and financial survival.
Getting health care in America is too expensive, too complicated, and too frustrating. Our system leaves us feeling powerless and taken advantage of.
Pete knows that addressing this national challenge will require a multifaceted approach that isn't anchored by the ideological arguments Washington has been having for decades, but is instead rooted in helping people.
Pete's New Era for Health in America is a comprehensive set of health care plans that aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs, increase equity, protect and expand access to health care for women, drive innovation, and address many other aspects of care. Centered on his Medicare for All Who Want It plan, Pete's approach will achieve universal coverage and put Americans back in charge of their health.
Freedom means access to affordable higher education.
While higher education remains a clear pathway for much of the middle class, for too many–particularly for students of color and low-income students–those paths are littered with hurdles. We must make public college truly debt-free for lower-income families. We will do this through a state-federal partnership that makes public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes–combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.
We will cancel the debts of borrowers in low-quality, overwhelmingly for-profit programs and invest $50 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving institutions (MSIs), which are critically important institutions that deserve more dedicated support.
Security means immigration and border policy that is compassionate and effective.
We must reclaim our nation’s standing as a human rights leader by implementing common sense immigration reform that will secure our values. The greatest nation in the world should have nothing to fear from children fleeing violence. More importantly, children fleeing violence should have nothing to fear from the greatest nation in the world. We must remember that immigrants are an essential part of our American story. Immigration creates strong families and communities who contribute to our economic growth and participate in our vibrant democracy.
Common sense immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living, working, paying taxes, and contributing to our American story, including DREAMers; resources to end the backlogs in our lawful immigration and asylum processes; and reasonable security measures at the border. Most Americans support such a package, and it is long past time for Washington to deliver.
Freedom is an inclusive economy without unfair barriers to entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is an engine of economic growth and employment. However, people of color face unique challenges to starting their own businesses, including accessing credit. Pete’s Walker-Lewis Initiative aims to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds within 10 years, in order to create up to 3 million new jobs in minority communities and across the country overall.
This initiative includes investing in entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, introducing a Debt-for-Jobs Plan to help students start businesses, awarding 25% of federal contracting dollars to small business owners from underserved communities, and convening a task force to identify additional ways to reach our entrepreneurship goals.
Freedom means affirming the inherent rights of tribal nations.
Tribal Nations long predate the United States of America. Yet despite signing treaties with hundreds of sovereign Indian tribes, the federal government attempted to suppress and destroy Native American tribes and their way of life.
In the face of this oppression, tribes and Native communities continue to exist and thrive. The impact of past injustices, however—from attempted genocide to federal policies that forced assimilation and stripped tribes of their native lands—still shadow our nation today. We must be honest about the history of relations with Indian Country and take bold steps to ensure that tribal nations and native communities have the freedom to excel.
Freedom means building 21st century infrastructure, because you’re not free to pursue happiness if you don’t have access to safe roads or clean water.
Infrastructure is central to the well-being of communities and the ability of individuals and families to live, work, and thrive. Today, our infrastructure is crumbling, and communities of color are disproportionately hurt by decades of neglect in neighborhoods and by unhealthy water systems. Investments in infrastructure can unlock good jobs, drive economic growth, and most importantly, empower communities to better access recreation, work, and health — connecting people to opportunity and to one another. Pete believes in the need for a major federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure.
Pete believes in the need for a major federal investment in our nation’s infrastructure. In particular, he will expand enforcement of environmental protections and invest in solutions to environmental threats. To prepare for and rebuild from disasters, he will ensure greater and more equitable disaster preparedness and relief so communities get the resources they need.
Democracy means depoliticizing our judicial system.
Depoliticize the Supreme Court.
We need to reform the Supreme Court in a way that will strengthen its independence and restore the American people’s trust in it as a check to the Presidency and the Congress. One promising idea is to restructure the Court so that ten members are confirmed in the normal political fashion, with the other five promoted from the lower courts by unanimous agreement of the other ten. Others have proposed implementing term limits. As president, Pete will create a bipartisan reform commission for the purpose of recommending structural improvements to protect the Supreme Court from further politicization.
Freedom means empowering our children by investing in equitable public education and our nation's teachers.
Today, access to education is too often determined by income or zip code. From inadequate resources and critical teacher shortages to discriminatory disciplinary policies, students of color in particular are far too often not afforded the same educational opportunities as their white peers. And when the intellectual lives of students of color are diminished, America loses. Pete will build a truly equitable education system, support and invest in our nation’s teachers, and ensure every child has access to the education they need to succeed.
A new era for Latinos
The Latino community upholds and fights for the values that make us American and shape the future of our country for the better. Despite these contributions, Latinos continue to face discrimination and systematic economic and social disempowerment. Pete commits to breaking down the institutional barriers that have kept Latinos from feeling like they fully belong in their country and empowering them to thrive.
Freedom means living free of discrimination because of who you are and whom you love.
Pete knows that our families, communities, and nation are stronger when we allow all individuals to be true to who they are. We're not fully free when too many LGBTQ individuals remain caught in the criminal justice system or asylum process, when poverty puts HIV treatment out of reach, or when your ability to give blood is contingent on who you love. At home and around the world, a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should not limit them from pursuing their dreams and realizing their full potential–to work, live, and go to school where they want; to love whom they choose, and to live safe, healthy lives.
Security means being able to age with dignity and support at home or in one’s community.
Our country is aging. By 2030, there will be more people over 65 than children for the first time in our history. Demand for caregiving will skyrocket. Yet Washington politicians have failed to address the growing need for affordable long-term care and support for caregivers. In a historic effort, Pete will fundamentally transform our long-term care system by establishing a new long-term care program, Long-Term Care America, which will provide eligible seniors a benefit of $90 a day for as long as they need it. He will ensure that every American has respect, dignity, and health security at home.
Other critical policy areas:
Freedom means everyone has access to the mental health and addiction care they need.
Americans are in the midst of a devastating epidemic of despair. At the same time, our mental health care system is in crisis. Pete’s vision embraces prevention and ensures every person in need has the support not only to begin to heal, but also to feel that they belong in their community and in our country.
Pete's plan is holistic. Fully implemented, his plan will prevent 1 million deaths due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide by 2028. He will empower communities to leverage their own innovation and expertise to improve mental health and prevent addiction through a 10-year $100 billion Healing and Belonging grant program.
Security means making sure every American family has economic peace of mind now and in the future.
Raise the minimum wage to $15 and ensure workers access to the predictable hours, wages, and support they deserve.
For too long, the typical worker’s wages have not kept up with expenses like health care, housing, and education. Pete wants to make sure that workers who are giving their all to an employer are getting paid fairly in return. By raising the minimum wage to $15 and beyond, we can start taking steps to make sure that the economy is working for all workers. Restoring Obama-era overtime regulations will ensure that over eight million workers who are putting in extra time for their employers get paid for those hours.
We must also have an honest conversation about how to solve the bigger issue of automation and economic disruption. As fewer and fewer people have a lifelong relationship with a single employer, training and job placement programs are critical. But so is what happens to someone’s identity. We need measures to bridge income and benefits when work is disrupted–and to create meaningful non-work opportunities for building identity and community.
Democracy means more shared experiences in the service of our country.
When Pete was a Navy Reserve Officer, he learned to trust and collaborate with women and men from radically different backgrounds — including different races, religions, and political leanings. Right now, we turn away hundreds of thousands of young people who volunteer to serve. Military service, Peace Corps service, and domestic service-year opportunities through efforts like AmeriCorps should be expanded until service becomes a universal expectation for every American youth.
“A New Call to Service” aims to quadruple service opportunities to 1 million high school graduates by 2026. Our plan calls young Americans to meaningfully engage in key challenges of our time: resilience and sustainability against climate disruption; community well-being, including mental health, addiction, and substance use; and long-term caregiving and intergenerational mentorship.
Read Pete’s proposal for national service: “A New Call to Service.”
Freedom means the ability to organize in order to hold employers accountable and advocate for fair pay.
Decades ago, we were promised a rising tide of economic growth that would lift all boats. We got the rising tide–GDP went up, productivity went up–but our paychecks didn’t show it. Working class wages have stagnated since 1980. The need for new skills in a changing economy is one piece of the puzzle. But the hard truth is that while the economy changed, workers’ voices were systematically silenced. Our economy has been tilted toward the wealthy and away from the middle and working class because the people in power designed our laws and policies that way.
Pete’s policies will empower workers and raise wages, going beyond existing legislative proposals, to accelerate wage growth for the vast majority of Americans who are not in the richest tenth. His policies aim to double unionization, restore workers’ rights that have been eroded by decades of anti-worker policies, enshrine the right to multi-employer bargaining, and expand protections for gig economy, farm, and domestic workers.
CRITICAL POLICY AREAS
Freedom means ending the trade-off between caring for loved ones and paying the bills when serious family or medical needs strike.
Ensure all working Americans have access to 12 weeks of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.
Today, just 19 percent of workers have paid family leave through their jobs, and less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer’s temporary disability insurance program. That’s tens of millions of people–mostly middle and working class families, disproportionately people of color, people with disabilities, and women–who are left behind or forced to make impossible choices that damage their economic security. These gaps contribute to a culture where, too often, our families' needs come last. Pete knows this is unacceptable. It's why he offered fully paid parental leave in South Bend, and it's why as President will make sure workers have at least 12 weeks of paid family leave per year as a portable benefit.
Pete will pass an enhanced version of the FAMILY Act to create a national paid family and medical leave fund. Benefits for lower-income workers will be high enough so they can afford to take leave, and no one will lose their job when they need time away to provide care. Caregiving responsibilities for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and chosen family members will be included, and new partnerships with health systems and the Department of Veterans Affairs will improve outreach and education on paid family leave. Pete's administration will also decouple medical leave benefits from family care and new child leave benefits to provide a longer total annual leave for workers who have both serious personal health issues and a family health issue or new child within the same year.
Democracy means that U.S. citizens from Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico deserve political representation.
True political representation for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The problems faced by people living in D.C. and Puerto Rico are no less important than the problems faced by U.S. citizens in our 50 states.
Americans in the District of Columbia are entitled to the full representation afforded to every state: one congressperson, two Senators, and three Electoral Votes. If it were a state, Washington, D.C. would have the highest proportion of Black citizens–approximately 50%–in the union and be the only state where Black Americans were not a racial minority. We need Congress to redefine the District of Columbia to include only government buildings in the city center and create a new state, “New Columbia,” from the remaining territory.
Puerto Rico should have immediate representation in the Electoral College, and if the people of Puerto Rico want statehood, that should be welcomed by the United States. We saw the direct consequences of Puerto Rico’s disenfranchisement with the Trump Administration’s disastrous denial of aid after Hurricane Maria–every citizen deserves a full voice.
Freedom means racial justice, and reversing the damage of past and present racism to our communities, policies, and politics.
The Douglass Plan, a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of Black America.
Black Americans were enslaved and then systematically excluded from full citizenship through laws and policies that purposely relegated them into second-class personhood and that sanctioned racial discrimination. The effects are ongoing, and exclusionary policies linger. America must enter a new era that promotes political, economic, social, and racial equity in part by specifically reversing the harms of racist policies and practices.
Only by remedying the vestiges of slavery and confronting our nation’s shameful history of racism can we move to a place where full freedom is attainable for Black communities.
Freedom means being able to make decisions about your reproductive health based on what’s right for you.
A woman isn’t free if she can’t make choices about her health care. And she’s not free if the political decisions that shape her life are made by people who don’t know what it’s like to be in her shoes. Women are subject to health care policies that restrict their freedom, threaten their safety and jeopardize their well being. Pete’s policies are aimed at ensuring reproductive health care for every woman, no matter the state where she lives and works, her insurance status, her race, ethnicity or place of birth.
Freedom means that all communities, including rural communities, are empowered to thrive and grow.
As President, he will focus on building rural economies by investing in rural jobs, businesses, and entrepreneurs, especially returning veterans; doubling apprenticeship opportunities and ensure an apprenticeship program in a growing industry is available within 30 miles of every American; and ensuring workers get the wages and protections they deserve. With an eye to long-term sustainability, Pete will empower farmers to lead the way in combating climate change.
Education is an important part of Pete's rural economy platform, demonstrated in his plans to reduce the teacher shortage in rural areas by 50% within 15 years; increase the share of rural adults with a bachelor’s degree by 25% within 10 years; and guarantee that everyone—from small business owners to students—has affordable broadband internet access.
Security means being able to age and retire with respect, dignity, and a sense of belonging.
Our country is aging. By 2030, there will be more people over 65 than children for the first time in our history. Yet Washington politicians have failed to address the growing need for a sustainable Social Security system. The Trump administration has attempted to undermine Americans’ retirement by cutting billions of dollars from Social Security over the next decade. Pete is determined to usher in a new era for older Americans, one that empowers them to age and retire with security and dignity.
Democracy means that dollars shouldn’t be allowed to drown out the will of the people.
Small-donor matching system for federal elections.
Our democracy should work for the interests of ordinary Americans, not corporations and special interests. It’s time to create a strong public financing system that matches small donors so average citizens can run for office funded by their communities, not big donors.
We also need to create common-sense campaign finance rules that clearly establish that corporations do not have the same political rights as people, and dollars cannot outvote human beings. Our democracy is at stake, and the reason the amendment system was created is to fix problems like this.
Security means our nation keeps its promises to service-members and their families.
The American military represents the best of who we are and what we can be. What unites our service members is a shared commitment to support and defend the United States. In this, they have stepped up and set an example for us, and the world, about the potential of the American experiment. Pete’s plan will honor the commitment of our service members, veterans, and their families and ensure that every veteran has the opportunity to continue to lead on the home front.
Democracy means protecting voting rights so every eligible voter has a voice.
A 21st Century Voting Rights Act to end all types of voter suppression and expand voting access.
The American quest to build a more perfect union starts with a democracy that includes every citizen. Voters must not be denied their rights because of badly run elections or because some people on one side think it’s better if fewer citizens are able to vote. The federal government has a responsibility to prevent voter suppression and expand voting rights to give us all a voice in our democracy.
A 21st Century Voting Rights Act will use every resource of the federal government to end all types of voter suppression, expand voting access, and create a democracy where the rights of each citizen no longer depend on the color of their skin, the community they live in, or for whom they want to vote. To achieve these goals, we need to authorize a new preclearance procedure under the 1965 Voting Rights Act to enable the federal government to block racist voting laws before they take effect. Voting must also be made accessible to all, including through accessible registration materials and other language access provisions, and greater accessibility at polling places.
CRITICAL POLICY AREAS
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Pete doesn't take any money from federal lobbyists, corporate PACs, or the fossil fuel industry. Please chip in whatever you can to help build our grassroots movement.
If you've saved your information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately.