United States President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as the transportation secretary. If the Senate confirms his nomination, Buttigieg will be the first LGBTQ Senate secretary, reported CNN.
“Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a leader, patriot, and a problem solver,” Biden tweeted. “He speaks to the best of who we are as a nation. I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because he’s equipped to take on the challenges at the intersection of jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate.”
Biden said that he sees the Department of Transportation as the “site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better”. The president-elect added that he trusts Buttigieg to “work with focus, decency, and a bold vision”.
The transport department is expected to play a major role in Biden’s push for a bipartisan infrastructure package. Buttigieg, who was also running for the presidency, had rolled out a $1 trillion plan with a focus on upgrading America’s infrastructure and expanding the broadband Internet access through payment to state and local governments.
Following the nomination, the former mayor said that he was “honoured” that the president-elect has given him the chance to serve the country as the transportation secretary. “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity – to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, he said that innovation in transportation has helped his hometown. “Now is the time to build back better through modern and sustainable infrastructure that creates millions of good-paying union jobs, revitalizes communities, and empowers all Americans to thrive,” the former mayor said.
Buttigieg, as the mayor, had led various infrastructure projects, including a programme to make the South Bend’s sewers “smart” as a means to stop flooding and another plan to remove a number of one-way streets in the city’s downtown to revitalise the area.
After Biden won the South Carolina primary in the presidential race, Buttigieg had dropped out and endorsed him, reported Reuters.
The Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest advocacy group for the LGBTQ rights, lauded the nomination, saying Buttigieg “was open and honest” about his identity and gave a voice to the community.
“His voice as a champion for the LGBTQ community in the Cabinet room will help president-elect Biden build back our nation better, stronger and more equal than before,” Alphonso David, the group’s president, said in a statement.
Buttigieg’s nomination is in line with the president-elect’s commitment to diversity in the Cabinet. Unidentified officials told the news agency that US Representative Deb Haaland was the leading choice to head the interiors department. Earlier, reports suggested that Biden has selected retired Army General Lloyd Austin to be his secretary of defence. If true, Austin, the former commander of US Central Command, will be the first African American to lead the Department of Defence.
On November 30, Biden had announced an all-women press team. Biden’s transition team said that it was the first time in the country’s history that women will hold all the communication positions.