BOSTON — Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues took sides Monday in the 2020 presidential race, announcing his endorsement of South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat.

A Westport Democrat and member of the Legislature since 1996, Rodrigues said he has "always put a priority on authenticity and moral fiber" and those principles spurred him to back Buttigieg.

"As a veteran, he has proven to have the courage necessary to defend our country with honor," Rodrigues wrote. "As a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate, he clearly possesses a voracious appetite for knowledge and intellectual curiosity that is so lacking in our current political climate. As a leader with executive experience, he has the acumen to effectively and efficiently run a government. However, while these credentials make him an obviously qualified candidate for office, they are not the most important reasons that Mayor Buttigieg will have my vote. Rather, it is the obvious strength of his character and morality that lead me to believe he can unite and lead our country forward. It is time for a new generation of progressive leaders to emerge, and I believe Mayor Buttigieg will be at its forefront."

In backing Buttigieg, Rodrigues passed over three candidates from Massachusetts: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Seth Moulton and former Gov. William Weld, who is running for president as a Republican.

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