South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the latest Democratic presidential contender to meet with Las Vegas’ Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.
Buttigieg on Saturday, May 11 joined the AAPI Democratic Caucus’ (AAPIDC) community dinner, which was attended by over 150 community members.
Eleven-year-old student Cevan Louie introduced the mayor before his remarks, while Cristina Drost, who lived in South Bend before Las Vegas, presented Buttigieg with a lei.
“Whenever I join my AAPI friends…I know there will be a sense of welcome that is such a deep American value and that is a little bit fragile in our country right now so it is a great opportunity to model what America might look like,” Buttigieg said.
The South Bend mayor shared his campaign message of “freedom, security and democracy,” which he said has been resonating with the different groups he’s been meeting across the country.
“For too long, we’ve allowed our politics to be played out in a way that takes away our humanity, especially this president who just paints entire classes or groups of Americans with a broad brush so we don’t see each other as human beings,” he said.
After his speech, he took questions from the audience on topics from immigration backlogs to social security to his understanding of the AAPI community.
“Because many of the patterns of immigration in the AAPI community are more recent than the patterns of immigration for other parts of the American fabric, we need to make sure that we’re dealing the backlogs that make it difficult for families who are either traveling to the U.S. or to be able to have a pathway to citizenship that helps our country grow. It’s part of a bigger story on comprehension immigration reform,” he responded.
He later added calling for protects for DREAMers and border security that is “part of a plan” and “part of this bipartisan package.”
“As president, I am determined to build that consensus back up. Most Americans will be on board with it. We just need to get most members of Congress to have the same level of common sense that is present in most Americans,” he said.
He was also asked about whether U.S. veterans should be buried free of charge.
“When someone raises their right hand and takes an oath to serve in the military, I believe that while it is certainly a gift, it is also a mutual promise, of promises being made between the United States and the person who serves the United States,” he said, adding, “The fellowship among people who have served extends even to the dead and the way we honor them reflects very much on us.”
Later that evening, Buttigieg went to the Human Rights Campaign gala at Caesar’s Palace.
The 37-year-old mayor was in Los Angeles earlier in the week for a series of fundraisers and a union event with Mayor Eric Garcetti to support the city’s Measure EE, a parcel tax to benefit public education.
Buttigieg, who would be the youngest and the first openly gay president in history, is one of 21 Democrats running for the country’s top seat, who include former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.
With Nevada as a key swing state, presidential candidates have made it a point to campaign in the state and meet with AAPIs, who are considered one of the fastest-growing minority groups and make up 10 percent of the state’s electorate. n