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Pete Buttigieg gains another Utah endorsement day of SLC visit

FILE: DA Sim Gill and County Mayor Jenny Wilson releasing the details of the diversion program July 30, 2019. (Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg gained another endorsement in Utah, just hours ahead of his Salt Lake City visit. Salt Lake County Attorney General Sim Gill announced Monday he is endorsing Buttigieg for the presidential race, adding to the momentum he seems to be building in the state.

Gill has centered much of his work around criminal justice reform, noting it will take “bold action at the federal level” to make national change. Gill said he believes Buttigieg is the one to make this change.

“As Mayor of South Bend, he never shied away from tough conversations,” Gill said in a statement. “As president, he’ll prioritize restorative justice to work to reduce incarceration across the United States. Pete understands the importance of belonging –– he will be a President for all of us, not only those that support him. I enthusiastically endorse Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States.”

The endorsement was made hours before Buttigieg is scheduled to host a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City Monday night. The presidential hopeful had to move the event to a larger venue to plan for an expected large crowd.

The endorsement from Gill comes after two other endorsements last week from Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson.

Wilson said in an interview with KSL News Radio that her endorsement may be a bit biased, because she believes mayors know how to work across party lines to get things done. That’s what the country needs, she said.

“Somebody to come in and support campaign finance reform, get the lobbyists out of the halls of Congress, and make sure that people are heard,” she said.

Wilson said she expects there will be a big turnout at the event Buttigieg is hosting at the Union Event Center Monday night.

“Mayor Pete has momentum, people are very curious right now as they make their decision as a Democrat,” she said.

Wilson added that Buttigieg knows what Utah needs because of conversations she’s had with him on the kind of reform they need.

“He’s very aware because I’ve educated him on the challenges of our state as a whole, as well as the specific needs here in Salt Lake County,” she said.