The Carroll County Democrats hosted Pete Buttigieg, Democratic presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, Ind., for a Fourth of July celebration and barbecue on Thursday in Carroll, Iowa.
Buttigieg first commended the crowed for coming together to support the Democratic Party.
"I want to congratulate all of you on coming together as Democrats, knowing that that is not always an easy thing to do in our part of the country," Buttigieg said. "Yet we know that some of the values that I think used to be taught about like they were conservative values are really American values that it's going to be up to Democrats to defend in our time ... freedom is not a conservative value — it's an American value."
Buttigieg also mentioned how in rural areas, the Democratic Party hasn't been heard from in a while, and he wants to help change that.
Buttigieg's main remarks centered around starting a new generation of leadership. He said that traveling around on the campaign trail, he has seen generations come together and supporting one another, rather than pitting themselves against each other. He said this generational unity is important, as this presidential race isn't about winning an election, it's about winning an era.
"I think it's time for a mayor in the White House to show that it's time to get Washington looking like our best run cities and towns — not the other way around," he said.
After his remarks, Buttigieg answered questions from the crowd.
One attendee from Omaha told Buttigieg that he had a solution to decrease racial tensions within South Bend. The questioner was referring to a recent police shooting that occurred in the town.
"Just tell the black people of South Bend to stop committing crime and doing drugs," the questioner said.
The question was followed with loud yelling and boos from the crowd.
"Sir, I think that racism is not going to help us out of that problem," Buttigieg responded immediately.
The questioner responded that his proposition had nothing to do with race, but Buttigieg continued his response.
"The fact that a black person is four times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated for the same crime is evidence of systemic racism," Buttigieg said. "It is evidence of systemic racism, and with all due respect sir, racism makes it harder for good police officers to do their job, too ... racism has no place in American politics or in American law enforcement."
Other questions revolved around agricultural policy, international development and current president Donald Trump. He also took a quick break to play a game of bags with some crowd members.
Tess Leiting, a senior in interior design from Iowa State, appreciated that Buttigieg included Carroll in his list of campaign stops.
"To me it means a lot when they just come to these smaller towns," she said. "Because you don't have to, you could just go to Des Moines and see people, but it just actually proves that they kinda care about what's going on in the areas people don't always think about."