South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to keynote Equality Illinois 2019 Gala

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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois announced today that South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, a rising national star among Democrats, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Gala presented by United, set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at the Hilton Chicago.

The Washington Post called him “the most interesting Mayor you’ve never heard of” and the New York Times ran a column saying that he could be the nation’s “first gay President.” Additionally, President Obama named him one of four Democrats who represented the future of the Democratic Party.

“We are thrilled to announce that Mayor Pete will be joining us at the 2019 Gala,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization. “Mayor Pete’s leadership and energy to enact change both in Indiana and on the national level is exciting and we are proud to welcome him. As an elected Democrat in a traditionally ‘red’ Midwest state, an openly gay male, and war veteran, he will bring a very relevant and insightful message to all in attendance.”

Mayor Pete was first elected mayor in 2011 at only 29 years old, and re-elected in 2015 with 80% of the vote. Over the seven years that he has been mayor, South Bend went from being called one of America’s ten dying communities by Newsweek to seeing its fastest pace of population and investment growth in recent memory.

In 2017, he ran for Democratic National Committee chair, earning national praise for his clear message and emphasis on rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up in every community. He currently serves on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, and is chair of the Mayors’ Task Force on Automation, which addresses the impact of automation on American communities.

A Rhodes Scholar, Mayor Pete studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford and holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard. The son of educators, he lives with his husband Chasten in the same South Bend neighborhood where he grew up and is restoring a once-vacant home there.

Tables and individual tickets for the 2019 Equality Illinois Gala are now available at

Press release from Equality Illinois



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