Some people had waited in the cold since 5 p.m. Sunday to rally with Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg at 7:30 p.m.
By the time the doors of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Avenue of the Americas opened at 7:30 p.m., the front of the line nearly met the back of the line, separated only by the façades of the Vets and the Hotel Renaissance Providence.
“I’ve never been to a political rally,” confessed Dvora. Neither had her mother, but the older Szego had read Buttigieg’s book, “Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future.” The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, struck them as “somebody to spark our trust and respect for reason and thought.”
Susannah Currie, 64, had seen a Facebook post by a friend in California, then read Buttigieg’s book and started catching his speeches and interviews. “He’s young,” she said, “but he’s grown up.” Her husband started noticing the candidate, too, and they both like Buttigieg’s plan for preserving choices in Medicare. Deane Currie also appreciates the candidate’s thoughts about hypocrisy in religion, saying “nobody knows your own faith.”
Dylan Kiley, 20, of Barrington, had brought Meghan McCarney, 20, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he used to work. Kiley said he has been a supporter of Buttigieg since the mayor formed his exploratory committee and has followed politics since he was 13. “Pete’s just the smartest guy in the room,” Kiley said. He described Buttigieg’s Medicare program as “Medicare for all who want it.”
Claudia Gorda, 53, of Attleboro, said, “I’m just here because he reminds me of Obama,” she said, by coming “just from out of nowhere. He gave me hope,” she said.
Kim, 49, and Mark Schneider, 57, of Providence said they were attending “to learn more about Pete.”
She believes “he can bridge the divide in the party as well as in the country,” she said.
As they reached the turnstiles, Bryan Halar, 42, of Woonsocket, Derek Mason, 37, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Richard Davia, 54, of Providence, had time to give only one word for what Buttigieg meant to each. “Integrity,” said Halar. “Hope,” said Mason. “Inclusiveness,” said Davia.
It was the same with the Kilmartins of Barrington. Asked for a single word to describe what Buttigieg means to them, Heather, 36, gave three: “Intelligent, integrity and inspiring.” Her parents, Joyce, 63, and Paul, 64, agreed on all three descriptions.
[read in full at ProvidenceJournal.com]