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Biden announces former rival Pete Buttigieg as pick for secretary of transportation

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At an event on Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden announced former South Bend, Indiana Mayor and former Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for secretary of transportation. If confirmed, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay cabinet secretary approved by the Senate.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: And the long-term challenge this nation faces in the future are in this cabinet's hands. It's a cabinet that's battle-tested, qualified, experienced, creative, innovative, and forward-looking, and, yes, representative. And today, I'm proud to nominate its newest member. For Secretary of Transportation, I nominate Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

I got to know Pete on the campaign trail. He's one of the smartest people you'll ever meet and one of the most humble. A mayor from the heartland, a management expert, a policy wonk with a big heart, a veteran, Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve, an intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan while he was mayor, a new voice with new ideas, determined to move past old politics.

PETE BUTTIGIEG: I'm also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment, knowing that this is the first time an American president has ever sent an openly LGBTQ cabinet member to the Senate for confirmation. I can remember watching the news, 17 years old in Indiana, seeing a story about an appointee of President Clinton named to be an ambassador, attacked and denied a vote in the Senate because he was gay, ultimately able to serve only by recess appointment. 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. 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.

So 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. So thank you, Mr. President-elect. Thank you for honoring your commitment to diversity with this administration that you're assembling.