Last February, I attended Pete Buttigieg’s first New Hampshire event in Alstead. While barely familiar with him, I became instantly impressed by the respectful way he interacted with all, and the directness in which he answered any question put to him.

In fact, he was (and remains) more interested in hearing from people than in speaking about himself. He never gave an evasive answer. Buttigieg showed specific interest on issues such as climate change, with which as he states his generation will especially have to contend. It was important to Pete, as his city of South Bend had experienced two 500-year floods during his tenure.

He spoke of his eight years of executive experience of having to be directly accountable to the public. How when issues arise, he was expected to deal with them directly.

After reading Buttigieg’s biography and attending more of his town halls, what constantly most resonated with me was the main theme of his campaign: of belonging. Of inclusiveness. Of all Americans having a seat at the table.

At his events, it’s very clear that Buttigieg connects with people of all backgrounds. Children, young moms, seniors, etc., all types of people respect him. I believe it’s because they sense that he respects them.

The Iowa results confirm his across-the-board support. His strong crossover appeal includes voters of no party affiliation, as well as lifelong democrats, and as Pete calls them, “former future Republicans.”

Many especially appreciate his Naval intelligence service in Afghanistan and how that experience could affect military decisions. Pete knows that the United States cannot have a “go it alone” approach to foreign policy. The son of an immigrant, Buttigieg’s multilingualism is a huge plus as our nation will have to work to rebuild its image on the world stage in the next administration.

Pete’s ideology is that of a “pragmatic progressive.” It’s clear he exhaustively studies issues, seeking out input from those of varying viewpoints looking at all sides before expressing his opinion. His detailed policies, all found on his website, especially on health care, disability rights, and environment just for starters, are light years ahead of where our country is currently.

Pete Buttigieg — direct, intelligent, and with a steady and focused temperament — with our help on Tuesday, can change the direction of our country and lead it forward.

KATHLEEN O’DONNELL

609 West St.

Keene