President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, according to multiple reports, in a move that will catapult the former mayor from small town roots — after a presidential bid that fell short earlier this year — onto the national scene.
If approved, the ex-South Bend, Indiana mayor, would also be among the first LGBTQ Cabinet secretaries confirmed by the Senate in Biden’s increasingly diverse team.
Biden has vowed to invest in transportation and new infrastructure while fulfilling commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The role of transportation secretary, which has included a number of contenders, is expected to play a key role in Biden’s push for a bipartisan package.
The former mayor was considered for several other posts, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary after catching Biden’s eye during the primaries earlier this year as an emerging star in the Democratic Party.
In February 2020, Buttigieg won the Iowa Caucuses — nearly tying with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — making him the first openly gay person to ever win a presidential primary or caucus. After resigning his own campaign, Buttigieg later endorsed Biden and spent much of the general election boosting Biden’s bid for president.
Biden praised Buttigieg at a March event in Dallas, comparing him to his late son Beau Biden who died of brain cancer.
“I know that may not mean much to most people, but to me it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman,” Biden said at the time.
Biden is said to have also considered former Chicago Mayor and ex-Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as contenders for the top transportation job.
“I promise you, you’re going to end up, over your lifetime, seeing a hell of a lot more of Pete than you are of me,” Biden added.