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Biden picks Buttigieg as transportation chief

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(President-elect Joe Biden saying): “For secretary of transportation, I nominate Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his former Democratic presidential rival Pete Buttigieg as his pick for U.S. secretary of transportation, adding to what is shaping up to be the most diverse Cabinet in U.S. history.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary.

(Pete Buttigieg saying:) “Travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure and even love so much so I proposed to my husband Chasten in an airport terminal, don’t let anybody tell you that O’Hare airport isn’t romantic.. I am 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 for confirmation”

The nomination caps a stunning political rise for Buttigieg - a military veteran who emerged from relative obscurity to mount a surprisingly robust campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

When Buttigieg ended his campaign and endorsed Biden in March, Biden offered him high praise, saying the Indiana native reminded him of his late son, Beau.

As transportation secretary, Buttigieg would oversee a sprawling federal agency that regulates the nation's airlines, transit systems and interstate highways.

He would also play a central role in Biden's proposed infrastructure and environmental initiatives, including plans to add 500,000 charging stations nationwide for electric vehicles.

Buttigieg- if confirmed- would be part of Biden's cabinet full of firsts with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris - the first Black person, Asian-American and woman to serve as the nation's No. 2; Janet Yellen - the first female treasury secretary; Lloyd Austin - the first Black defense secretary; and Alejandro Mayorkas the first immigrant and first Latino to head the homeland security department.

U.S. Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico is Biden's leading choice to head the Interior Department, according to three sources familiar with the decision process.

If picked and confirmed by the senate, she would be the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.