Opinion: Buttigieg would deliver results for America

Adam Hollier

On Dec. 9, 2017, at 5:45 a.m., I was speeding 80-plus miles per hour, only worried about breaking a rim on a pothole and pending snow.

I wasn’t worried about our obstetrician: We had examined resumes, did interviews and chose a black woman who understood the specific challenges black mothers face. Krystle was 33 weeks pregnant, and we knew something was wrong. I knew all I had to do was get my wife to Dr. Thomas. She delivered our daughter via emergency C-section with mere moments to spare.

We should pick presidents as carefully as we pick doctors. What we need is a leader who knows how to navigate difficult situations and is focused on getting real results like eliminating lead poisoning, decreasing infant mortality and supporting soldiers and their families.

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign rally, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianola, Iowa.

America needs Pete Buttigieg. 

In my district on the North End of Detroit, the median income is less than $40,000. Earning $70,000 will put you in the top income quartile.

Making a difference in my constituents’ lives means focusing on raising wages, closing the skills gaps and providing opportunities for college. It means creative solutions like Buttigieg’s 21st Century Community Homestead Act to launch a public trust that would purchase abandoned properties and provide them to eligible residents. 

Buttigieg knows the only plans that help are the ones that can get through Congress, and he’s boldly working to tackle the root problems with solutions that will get done.

That’s how policy platforms like his Douglass Plan for Black America came about. Buttigieg visited places like Detroit and Allendale County, South Carolina, and he heard what would make a meaningful difference in the lives of black people. And he’s put forward an ambitious but achievable blueprint to dismantle systemic racism while also directly helping people like those in my district with targeted investments in everything from entrepreneurship to public education to criminal justice reform. 

For example, black mothers are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth, and black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. Buttigieg’s plan to set up Health Equity Zones to address these kinds of disparities, while also helping more black health professionals enter the workforce, is essential.

Buttigieg has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure agenda that would create six million jobs around the country, with strong labor protections, fair wages and a focus on local hiring and underrepresented communities. He will devote over $90 billion to modernize our nation’s water infrastructure so that every American child — from Flint to Portsmouth, New Hampshire — grows up with clean water coming out of their taps.

Sen. Adam Hollier

With experience both as a mayor whose job was to bring people together to solve problems on the ground, and as a Navy intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, Buttigieg embodies the true meaning of a servant-leader. I trust him to make the best decisions on everything from infrastructure to Iran.

People ask me whether black voters will support someone who is gay — the answer is yes. Black people elected Lori Lightfoot as the Mayor of Chicago, Jeremy Moss to the Michigan Senate in Southfield, and hundreds of gay candidates across the country. The only thing notable about Buttigieg’s choice of spouse should be that he had the wisdom to marry a Michigan resident. 

People point out that he’s young. But when I ran for office as a 34-year-old, Ivy League-educated military officer who lives in the same community he was raised in, I didn’t ask voters to trust experience; I asked them to believe in character.

Over the past year, reflecting on what we need in 2020, I’ve listened to presidential biographies from Washington to Johnson. Our best presidents were leaders we could believe in, with the temperament and judgment to manage crises. In my fellow veteran Buttigieg, I see the temperament, character and values of a great president.

Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, serves Michigan’s 2nd District.