President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and rival presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for the transportation secretary post.
If installed, Buttigieg, 38, who ran against Biden as a Democratic presidential candidate but ended up endorsing Biden, would be the first senate-confirmed LGBTQ cabinet secretary, CNN reported.
Biden had previously shown he wanted to find a spot for the former mayor in his cabinet after they became close during the campaign, and though he could have led the Department of Veteran Affairs as a military veteran, Biden chose the transportation secretary post for him, The New York Times reported.
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If confirmed, Buttigieg will have a significant role in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure and the economy, three people familiar with the decision told The Washington Post.
The transportation administration will also be part of Biden’s efforts to fight climate change by curbing emissions, and Buttigieg had argued as a presidential candidate for tough global warming regulations.
At a March event in Dallas, Biden compared Buttigieg, to his late son Beau, who died of brain cancer in May 2015 at age 46, and similarly served in the military.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son, Beau,” Biden said at the time.
Buttigieg, a U.S. Navy veteran was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal after being deployed to Afghanistan, and Beau, who served in the U.S. Army and Delaware Army National Guard, received a Bronze Star Medal after being deployed to Iraq in the 261st Signal Brigade and posthumous Legion of Merit.
Buttigieg, who is ‘married’ to Chasten Buttigieg, a high school teacher, came out as gay in a 2015 essay for the South Bend Tribune while serving as mayor, and won re-election later that year.
Buttigieg is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Prior to becoming mayor, he was a consultant for the Chicago office of McKinsey and Company where he worked on energy, retail, economic development and logistics for three years.
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