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On February 2, 2021, Pete Buttigieg was confirmed by the Senate with an 86-13 majority to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. On February 3, 2021, Buttigieg was sworn in.

The 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana competed against Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, he is the youngest member of Biden’s Cabinet as well as the first openly gay person confirmed to serve in a president’s Cabinet.

The Department of Transportation’s mission is “To ensure America has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world, which boosts our economic productivity and global competitiveness and enhances the quality of life in communities both rural and urban.” The agency employs around 55,000 people and has authority over federal highways, aviation, railroads, pipelines, and more. As the Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg will help President Biden with improving infrastructure, especially with Climate change, racial justice, and post-pandemic economic recovery in mind. Buttigieg has said that he hoping “to build more climate-resilient communities to deal with more extreme floods, droughts and super storms.”

During his time as mayor, Buttigieg’s “Smart Streets” initiative was created to help benefit historically under-resourced areas by bringing in pedestrian traffic and helping small businesses. South Bend also became one of the first cities to have a LimeBike contract and a program was put in place to help transport workers who didn’t have work hours that aligned with public transport schedules.

GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights organization tweeted their congratulations and Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, called the appointment “a significant achievement” towards Biden’s goal of having a diverse and representative administration. Buttigieg himself responded by recalling when he 17 years old and learned that one of Clinton’s nominees was denied a vote in the Senate because he was gay. Buttigieg continued, “I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged.”

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