Pete Buttigieg discusses poverty with Rev. Barber at Goldsboro church

GOLDSBORO, N.C. -- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will certainly need the black vote in North Carolina to win the March primary.

On Sunday, he used the opportunity visit to a church in Goldsboro to answer questions from those voters and others about poverty, jobs and voter suppression.

Buttigieg bashed President Donald Trump's social and economic policies at Greenleaf Christian Church. Civil Rights leader, Rev. Dr. William Barber invited the candidate to the church for a discussion with the community.

"These problems did not begin with present administration. Although I would say the present administration is not acting to improve them but to make them worse," Buttigieg said.

The event centered around Barber's national Poor People's Campaign, once led by Dr. King in the late 1960s, around systemic racism, poverty and low pay.

A military veteran from the crowd asked Buttigieg how will he address the issue as president.

"People in the country need to get paid more," Buttigieg said. "This is simple and straightforward and it has not happened."

Buttigieg said he would fight for a $15 federal minimum wage and increase food stamp SNAP benefits.

Dr. Barber asked the candidate how he'll tackle racist voter suppression.

"We can ensure automatic voter registration as soon as someone is old enough to vote," Buttigieg stated. "We can make sure the polls are open in a reasonable amount of time."

Buttigieg also said his administration would work with Congress to increase federal funding for Title I schools in poor neighborhoods and increase teacher pay.

Recent polls show the 37-year-old candidate is weak with voters of color. Today he told reporters he is working to appeal to black voters who haven't discovered him yet.

"I think the more we do that outreach the better that relationship will grow," He stated.

The republican national committee released a statement about Mayor Pete's visit today.

North Carolina's 2020 primary is March 3.

"Pete Buttigieg will need to do more than staged campaign stops to make amends with the African American community," said Trump Victory Spokesperson Samantha Cotten. "Voters know his abysmal record as Mayor on crime, housing, and the lack of diversity in his administration. Meanwhile, President Trump is delivering on his promises with record low unemployment for African Americans and major reforms to the criminal justice system."
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