39-year-old Pete Buttigieg was approved by the Senate of the United States as the Transport Secretary, becoming the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a cabinet post.
A military veteran and a former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, Buttigieg was approved by a Senate vote of 86-13. He will serve as the 19th Secretary of the Transportation Department since it was first created in 1966.
Buttigieg gained widespread attention when he made his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year.
“I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate and ready to get to work,” Buttigieg tweeted shortly after he was confirmed.
I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate—and ready to get to work @USDOT.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) February 2, 2021
His confirmation was hailed as a historic event by many LGBTQ advocacy groups across the United States.
“Congratulations to Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his historic confirmation,” Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, said after the vote. “This confirmation breaks through a barrier that has existed for too long, where LGBTQ identity served as an impediment to nomination or confirmation at the highest level of government.”
The transportation department of the United States has a budget of about $90 billion dollars and over 50,000 employees. It also manages a wide range of other agencies that regulate aviation, railroads, trucking and pipeline safety.
Buttigieg is expected to play a major role in President Biden’s agenda to advance the nation’s infrastructure to fight climate change and bring about greener initiatives. He has also pledged to make safety on public transportation in the United States one of his major priorities.
However, he takes over the mantle of the Transport Secretary at a time when the transportation sector has been hit by travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. The public transport sector has also been battered as most people are now working from home.
Will Buttigieg successfully overturn the tide? What do you think? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.