Monday, April 15, 2019
If all goes as planned, by the time this blog is published, Pete Buttigieg will have formally declared his candidacy for President.
As someone steeped in local governance as the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg brings to the race a special awareness of issues that often fly under the radar during national elections. Water and wastewater are great examples.
Water access, affordability, and wastewater treatment are all the province of local government. National politicians often overlook these concerns even as they address important universal rights such as health care. Yet Buttigieg identifies water as a critical component of Americans' freedom.
For example, in an August 2018 Rolling Stone interview, Buttigieg said: "I think about wastewater management as freedom. If a resident of our city doesn’t have to give it a second thought, she’s freer."
He repeated this idea more recently at an appearance at Northeastern University in Boston, adding drinking water into the mix.
Time will tell whether Buttigieg's unlikely campaign continues to gather momentum. But if nothing else, Buttigieg's recognition of the importance of water in everyday lives -- and the jeopardy that individuals face because of government's neglect of these concerns (think Detroit, Baltimore, Flint, Lowndes Co. Georgia) -- will make an important and unique contribution to the election debates over the next 18 months.