President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday officially nominated Pete Buttigieg, his former Democratic primary presidential rival, to head the US Department of Transportation. Biden said 38-year-old Buttidzic could be a “new voice” in the fight against economic inequality, systemic racism and climate change.
Buttigieg, 38, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has never held federal office and became the first open LGBT person to be nominated for the Biden administration. If approved by the Senate, he will become the first openly gay minister in American history.
Biden welcomed the appointment, confirming that his new administration will have a record number of women and ethnic and social minorities. According to the president-elect, his “cabinet will provide opportunities for success and break down barriers, which will help get … bright minds and talents” into the new White House administration.
According to Biden, Buttidzic will become “a new voice with new ideas that go beyond traditional politics.”
“We need someone who knows how to work with state, local and federal agencies,” Biden said, noting that many American highways are in disrepair and bridges are “on the brink of collapse.”
“Transportation is the best expression of the American dream, bringing people and goods to their destination, directly or indirectly creating well-paid jobs,” said Pete Buttigiech, who took the floor after Joe Biden. “Missed policies and missed opportunities [в транспортной отрасли] can worsen racial, economic and environmental situations, divide or isolate whole areas from each other, undermining the role of government in ensuring global prosperity. ”
During his speech, Buttigieg said that he is an ardent fan of rail transport, and recalled that Joe Biden himself used Amtrak trains for many years, dividing time between his home in Delaware and Washington during his work in the Senate.
Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, representing Ohio, said Buttidzic is “more than ready to finally solve the infrastructure crisis in our country.” Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado praised Biden for nominating as Secretary of Transportation “a very intelligent, forward-thinking and energetic” man who could modernize the crumbling US transportation infrastructure.
However, not all observers are delighted with the new appointment in the Biden administration.
“I don’t know him at all,” Senator from Maine, Republican Susan Collins, said in a conversation with reporters. In her opinion, the former mayor of Chicago and ex-chief of staff of the Barack Obama administration, Ram Emanuel, would have looked much better in the post of transport secretary. Biden viewed Emanuel as a candidate for several positions in his cabinet, but this caused a sharp negative reaction among the representatives of the Democratic left wing.
Buttidzic’s nomination for the post of Minister of Transport was positively received by representatives of human rights organizations working on issues of the LGBT community. According to Annis Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, the appointment will have a positive impact not only on the department, which will be led by 38-year-old Pete Buttigiech.
The leader of the South Bend city branch of Black Lives Matter (BLM), of which Buttigieg was mayor, criticized the nomination. The group criticized Buttigieg during his participation in the primaries over an incident that took place in South Bend in 2019 in which a white policeman shot and killed an African American.
“We saw how his administration demolished African American homes … We saw how [находившаяся под его руководством] police treated black people, ”said Jorden Geiger, BLM leader in South Bend.