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If not for NMSU, 2020 Democratic presidential contender Peter Buttigieg might never have been born

Joe and Anne Buttigieg 1
Gene Cunner
The wedding of Joe and Anne in 1980 where Gene Cunner (far right) was best man.
Joe and Anne Buttigieg 2
Pete Buttigieg
Joe Buttigieg and Anne Montgomery, parents of Pete Buttigieg.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - If not for New Mexico State University, the parents of presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg might never have met, married and later given birth to the son who would grow up to become a presidential contender.

"Joe was great in academics. So was Anne,"​ said NMSU Prof. Gene Cunnar, of Pete's father and mother.

Cunnar and Joe Buttigieg grew from colleagues in the English Department to great friends. Cunnar told ABC-7 he was the best man in the Buttigieg wedding on January 6, 1980 in El Paso.

Joe Buttigieg was an assistant English professor at NMSU, Cunnar said, and Anne Montgomery's specialty was linguistics.

Cunnar had a fond memory of roasting a goat with Joe in the Aguirre Springs campground of the Organ Mountains. He told ABC-7 that Joe introduced him to maltese cuisine.

 "I remember he made calamari, which was really good," Cunnar said.

The Buttigieg family moved away from Las Cruces, but Cunnar said he often thought of their family.

"I knew they had a son," Cunnar said. "Their son became the mayor of South Bend, served in the military. Multilingual. Extremely bright."

That son would go on to become one of the front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"If Pete becomes president, maybe I'll become Secretary of State," Cunnar said with a chuckle.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.



    1. The known terrorist taken out by drone strike in Yemen, he was born in Las Cruces, thanks to parents at NMSU.
      Of course, UTEP pumped out clown/”newsman,” bushy brows Sam Donaldson.

  1. The homophobia displayed here is indicative of rampant bigotry in the xenophobic areas of the internet. Even Trump states he’d vote for a homosexual. Criticize the guy for being a small time mayor with socialistic tendencies all you want and I’ll agree. But leave your bigotry at home until you take it to your grave. Also, never say you’re pro-veterans, either. You lost that privilege with your vile hatred.

    1. Cite at least one comment I have made in reference to pete being gay? You won’t find one from me. Only alberto’s confused mind invents what he does not see to demean intelligent conversation. You have no right to tell me I’m not a veteran. You are assuming what you don’t know. That does not speak well of you either.

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