Joe Biden picks Pete Buttigieg to be transportation secretary - CNN

Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, the president-elect said in a statement on Tuesday, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.

Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber.

"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 added that he sees the Department of Transportation as the "site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better" and that he trusts "Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision."

The choice -- which represents the first time the President-elect has called on one of his former Democratic presidential opponents to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary -- vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the primary into a top job in his incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again.

The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden's push for a bipartisan infrastructure package. Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana. As a presidential candidate, he rolled out a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that prioritized upgrading the country's crumbling infrastructure and expanding broadband internet access through payment to state and local governments. Buttigieg often spoke about infrastructure on the campaign trail from the perspective of a small mayor, arguing that local governments like the one he once ran needed people in Washington who understood their needs and issues.

And Buttigieg, as mayor, spearheaded a number of infrastructure projects, including a program to make the city's sewers "smart" as a way to prevent flooding and a plan that got rid of a number of one-way streets in South Bend's downtown in an effort to revitalize the area. The former mayor talked up both of these programs on the campaign trail.

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