Iowa voters chuckled after Mayor Pete Buttigieg pitched the idea Wednesday of a “Silicon Prairie” in the midwest if he is elected president.
“I believe we can build a Silicon Prairie,” the South Bend mayor said as voters laughed. “We’re hard at work where I come from and I think it would do a lot of good in Iowa too.
Buttigieg spoke at a town hall in Tipton, Iowa, arguing that more immigration and digital infrastructure would help revitalize rural communities.
The South Bend mayor proposed an $80 billion government-funded “Internet-for-all” program that would stretch broadband Internet to rural areas.
“Rural America is willing to compete and thrive if we have the infrastructure,” he said.
Buttigieg also detailed his location-specific work fast-track visa proposal:
We are going to welcome the potential of immigration to help us grow our communities by establishing a community visa renewal program for communities that choose to welcome new Americans with an incentive that allows you to get a fast track to a green card if you commit to staying in those communities and helping them grow.
He argued that most rural Americans were more welcoming of immigrants.
“In my experience, the people with the hardest and cruelest attitudes on immigrants are from people who don’t know any,” he said. “And ironically it’s in our rural communities that are a lot of people that know full well the kind of value that comes from opening our communities to the growth that will not come any other way.”