Eight Democrats took the stage in Atlanta Wednesday evening to make their case why they should chair the national party.

Among the eight was Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a Naval Reserve Officer. Buttigieg, 35, who is openly gay, said he has what it takes to make the party competitive again in all 50 states.

“We have allowed our language to be framed by the show in Washington rather than the lived experiences of Americans,” Buttigieg said. “We have not adequately communicated why our Democratic values – freedom, fairness, family and the future – are American values.”

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Deidre Newton, State Committeewoman for the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee, said she was very impressed with Buttigieg’s resume.

“Anyone who enters the arena at this point is a visionary,” Newton said. “The vision has to reach new people, inspire people and explain what we as Democrats have to offer. We’re the party that actually cares about people.”

Joining Buttigieg on the stage at Wednesday night’s debate, aired on CNN, were U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Jehmu Greene, past president of Rock the Vote, Jaime Harrison, chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Sally Boynton Brown, executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party, Peter Peckarsky, Wisconsin attorney and Samuel Ronan, a U.S. Air Force veteran from Ohio.

Ellison, 53, has served in Congress since 2007. He is endorsed by Carlos Guillermo Smith, one of two openly gay representatives in the Florida House of Representatives. The other, David Richardson of Miami, is not endorsing a candidate for DNC chair.

“Keith is exactly the type of fresh, progressive leadership Democrats need at the national level,” Smith said in a January 12 post on Facebook.

Meanwhile, State Committeeman for the Broward County Democratic Executive Committee Ken Evans told SFGN Wednesday morning he had yet to decide who he was endorsing. Evans also sits on the Democratic National Committee.