Pete Buttigieg: who is Joe Biden’s transportation secretary nominee set to be first openly gay cabinet member?

Buttigieg is married to Michigan school teacher Chasten Buttigieg

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Democratic rival Pete Buttigieg to lead the U.S. Transportation Department on Tuesday

The pair previously competed for the Democrat nomination with Buttigieg taking a number of key victories early on before Biden prevailed.

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Buttigieg, 38, is emerging as a powerhouse in American politics to the surprise of many. He stepped down from his role as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of 100,000, in 2020, and now looks set to take control of a vast federal agency in charge of the country’s transport sector.

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary (Getty Images)

Should the Senate confirm the nomination, Buttigieg will become the first openly LGBTQ cabinet secretary to be approved by the state.

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Career of Pete Buttigieg

Born in South Bend, Pete Buttigieg would study at Harvard University and then Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, majoring in history and literature at the former and philiosophy, politics and economics at the latter.

Buttigieg made his first forays in the early noughties, working for Jill Long Thompson on her congressional bid in 2002 and then John Kerry on his presidential bid in 2004.

After graduating from Oxford Buttigieg worked for consulting firm Mckinsey and Company on energy, retail, economic development, and logistics.

He joined the US Navy Reserve in 2009 and would serve in Afghanistan in 2014. This deployment coincided with his first term as mayor of South Bend, where he had been elected as mayor in 2012.

At 29 Buttigieg was the youngest person in US history to take charge of a city with more than 100,000 residents. He wwas reelected in 2015 but opted to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019.

His campaign promised to serve as a bridge to a new generation of US politics, notably targeting reform of the supreme court.

In 2018, Buttigieg married schoolteacher Chasten Glezman who has since become a regular at Buttigieg’s campaign events.

What did Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg say about his nomination?

Joe Biden heaped praise on Buttigieg following his nomination.

"Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation," Biden said. "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."

Biden said he sees the department as the "site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better" and that he has faith in "Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision."

Buttigieg recalled watching as a teenager as James Hornel was denied a role as ambassador to Luxembourg due to his sexuality.

Speaking at an event in Wilmington Delaware he said: "At the time, I had no aspirations of being appointed by a president to anything. At that age, I was hoping to be an airline pilot, and I was a long way from coming out even to myself. But still, I watched that story and I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who was allowed to belong.

"Two decades later, I can't help but think of a 17-year-old somewhere who might be watching us right now, somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world, or even in their own family. And I'm thinking about the message that today's announcement is sending to them."