President-elect Joe Biden picked Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary. Biden selected the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, and erstwhile Democrat rival candidate. Buttigieg ended his presidential bid shortly then threw his support to Biden.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor
Buttigieg, who is openly gay, joins a diverse Biden White House team. He follows Richard Grenell, who was the first openly gay Cabinet member. Granell was President Donald Trump’s former director of national intelligence. “Mayor Pete” is also the second Democrat rival that Biden invited to join him. The first one is Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who also ran for President.
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Before he was mayor, Buttigieg worked as a consultant in a Chicago management firm. Then, he ran and won for mayor of South Bend, Indiana in 2012. As mayor, he led the completion of a number of infrastructure projects. This included reengineering the city sewers to a “smart” version that prevented flooding. He also helped improve South Bend’s downtown traffic situation by rerouting streets. He remained in that position until 2019. By then, he did not seek re-election to focus on his Presidential campaign. Despite his limited experience, he won the primaries at the Iowa caucus
‘A Patriot and Problem-Solver’
In a statement issued Tuesday, Biden said that “Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation.” He added that “I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”
Before, Buttigieg often criticized the Trump administration for ignoring infrastructure. He said that the administration was “incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation.” He noted that because of this, “critical projects around the country are stalled because it.”
Buttigieg impressed Biden during the initial stages of the Democratic nominations. He proposed a $1 trillion plan that prioritized upgrading the country’s aging infrastructure. Also, he proposed widening broadband internet access by paying state and local governments. Throughout the campaign, his small-town perspective attracted voters. He helped the federal government understand what small counties need.
If confirmed by the Senate, Buttigieg will spearhead Biden’s push to revitalize infrastructure. Both Democrats and Republicans are in agreement on infrastructure reform. Many expect Biden’s first two years to ramp up infrastructure projects. Biden said that Transportation is the “site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better.” He added that he trusts “Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision.”
Granholm to Energy
Biden also wants former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm to head the Energy Department. Granholm became the first woman governor of Michigan, serving two terms from 2003 to 2011. Her tenure included prioritizing clean energy development and strengthening the local auto industry.
Granholm’s bid is a sign that Energy will push for solutions to climate change. She is an outspoken advocate of combating climate change and environmental policy. A Biden transition official said that her advocacy matches what Biden needs. “Governor Granholm understands the existential threat of climate change and its disproportionate impact on communities of color. As Governor, Granholm sought to make Michigan a leader in the clean energy economy and create good-paying union jobs,” the official said.
Watch the MSNBC video report on President Joe Biden nominating Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary:
With Pete Buttigieg for Transportation and Jennifer Granholm for Energy, Biden’s promise of diversity is on track. His promise to include more diversity is further bolstered by his latest picks.