Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and former Presidential candidate, has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the Secretary of Transportation.
“Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation,” Biden said in a statement. “This position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us. Jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate all come together at the DOT: the site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better. I trust Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision; he will bring people together to get big things done.”
As Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg would be responsible for leading the Department of Transportation, an agency of over 50,000 employees responsible for overseeing the nation’s airlines, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and commercial trucking. Buttigieg is a former Rhodes scholar and worked as a military intelligence analyst for the Navy.
The nomination also represents the first time Biden has asked a former Democratic Presidential opponent to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary — a role that many who lose the race covet.
According to CNN, the Biden transition team considered Buttigieg for a number of other positions, including US Ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Commerce. Other finalists for Buttigieg’s ultimate position include former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo.
If Buttigieg is confirmed by the Senate, he will become the first openly LGBTQ+ cabinet member in history. Richard Grenell, a gay Republican, did serve in the Trump administration as Director of National Intelligence. However, it was a temporary position, and he was never formally confirmed for the role. Buttigieg is expected to join President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for a Wednesday event.