EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – When former Michigan Governor Jim Blanchard invited U.S. Secretary Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, to join him for the MSU Public Service Forum, the forum didn’t have protestors as part of the itinerary. 

Shortly after the former Mayor of South Bend and current Traverse City resident began his address, a number of climate protestors began rushing the stage. 

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Police officers quickly intercepted the protesters who were shouting “Stop Petrol Pete” before escorting more than five individuals out of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. 


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At least one man was arrested at the protest and about eight others were asked to leave according to MSU Police and Public Safety spokeswoman Dana Whyte. 

“For the last several years our guests and special guests and honorees have been forty years older than tonight’s honoree,” said Gov. Blanchard. 

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“I’m not going to claim that Secretary Pete but has had a legendary career, yet,” he added. “Or I’m not going to claim he’s some sort of icon, but I think it’s true that he’s had a fascinating career in public service and I believe he will have a gifted career going forward.” 

Gov. Blanchard acknowledged that he and his wife agreed that honorees were to inspire students to enter public service, but the inspiration took a different turn during the roughly hour long forum with more than 40 students shouting outside the conference room for the duration of the event- some flashing phone lights and banging on windows. 

Previous honorees of the award include 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Filmmaker and documentarian Ken Burns.

Buttigieg, the first openly gay Senate-confirmed person to serve in a president’s cabinet,  acknowledged the historic spending on infrastructure under the current administration. 

“This month we marked the two year anniversary of what is now the largest investment in infrastructure that has happened in modern times in any country,” said Secretary Buttigieg. 

Sec. Buttigieg ended the day in East Lansing after spending the afternoon in Monroe, MI, highlighting the Biden-Harris Administration’s work on supply chains and the investments made in the area.