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Secretary of Transportation – confirmation needed

Pete Buttigieg

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 6, 2021 0 comments

Biden announced that he would nominate Pete Buttigieg as his Secretary of Transportation.

If confirmed, Buttigieg would be the first openly LGBTQ person in U.S. history to have a permanent Cabinet role.

The position: Advises on transportation policy. Oversees regulators for aviation, highways, railways, pipelines and others.

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg was born in 1982, in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Jennifer Anne Montgomery and Joseph A. Buttigieg. Buttigieg’s parents met and married while employed as faculty at New Mexico State University.

His father was born and raised in Hamrun, Malta, and had studied to be a Jesuit before emigrating to the United States and embarking on a secular career as a professor of literature at the University of Notre Dame near South Bend, where he taught for 29 years.

His mother was born in Stanislaus County, California, graduated from Radford High School in El Paso, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving her BA and MA in 1967. Her mother was born in Oklahoma, and her father was born in Indiana.

Buttigieg was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant and he attended Catholic schools.

A member of the Episcopal Church, Buttigieg is a congregant at the Cathedral of St. James in downtown South Bend.

Buttigieg was valedictorian of the class of 2000 at St. Joseph High School in South Bend. That year, he won first prize in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s Profiles in Courage essay contest. The subject of his winning essay was the integrity and political courage of then U.S. representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of only two independent politicians in Congress.

In 2000, Buttigieg was also chosen as one of two student delegates from Indiana to the United States Senate Youth Program, an annual scholarship competition sponsored jointly by the U.S. Senate and the Hearst Foundations.

Buttigieg attended Harvard University, where he majored in history and literature. He became president of the Student Advisory Committee of the Harvard Institute of Politics and worked on the institute’s annual study of youth attitudes on politics. He wrote his undergraduate thesis, titled The Quiet American’s Errand into the Wilderness, on the influence of Puritanism on U.S. foreign policy as reflected in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 2004, and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Before graduating from college, Buttigieg was an investigative intern at WMAQ-TV, Chicago’s NBC News affiliate.

He also interned for Democrat Jill Long Thompson during her unsuccessful 2002 congressional bid.

After college, Buttigieg worked on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as a policy and research specialist for several months in Arizona and New Mexico.

From 2004 to 2005, Buttigieg was conference director of the Cohen Group.

In 2006, he lent assistance to Joe Donnelly’s successful congressional campaign.

Buttigieg was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, he was an editor of the Oxford International Review, and was a co-founder and member of the Democratic Renaissance Project, an informal debate and discussion group of about a dozen Oxford students.

In 2007, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with first-class honours in philosophy, politics, and economics after studying at Pembroke College, Oxford.

After earning his Oxford degree, Buttigieg became a consultant at the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company in 2007, where he worked on energy, retail, economic development, and logistics for three years.

He took a leave of absence from McKinsey in 2008 to become research director for Jill Long Thompson’s unsuccessful campaign for Indiana governor.

Buttigieg joined the U.S. Navy Reserve through the direct commission officer (DCO) program and was sworn in as an ensign in naval intelligence in September 2009.

Buttigieg left McKinsey & Company in 2010 in order to focus full-time on his campaign for Indiana State Treasurer, ultimately unsuccessful.

Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in the November 2011 election and took office in January 2012 at the age of 29, becoming the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents and the second-youngest mayor in South Bend history (Schuyler Colfax III had become mayor in 1898 when aged 28).

In addition to his native English, Buttigieg has some knowledge of Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari Persian, and French.

Buttigieg plays guitar and piano, and in 2013 performed with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra as a guest piano soloist with Ben Folds.

Buttigieg was a 2014 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow.

Buttigieg has been involved with the Truman National Security Project since 2005 and serves as a fellow with expertise in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2014, he was named to the organization’s board of advisors.

In 2014, he took a seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan. While there, Buttigieg was part of a unit assigned to identify and disrupt terrorist finance networks. Part of this was done at Bagram Air Base, but he was also an armed driver for his commander on more than 100 trips into Kabul.

In order to better communicate with the local Afghans, he learned some Dari (a dialect of the Persian language).

Buttigieg was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

In 2015, during the controversy over Indiana Senate Bill 101—the original version of which was widely criticized for allowing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people—Buttigieg emerged as a leading opponent of the legislation. Amid his reelection campaign, he came out as gay to express his solidarity with the LGBTQ community. He was the first elected official in Indiana to come out while in office and the highest elected official in Indiana to come out.

In November 2015, he was elected to his second term as mayor with over 80% of the vote.

He resigned his commission from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2017.

Buttigieg ran for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2017, ultimately unsuccessful. Buttigieg “campaigned on the idea that the aging Democratic Party needed to empower its millennial members.”

In December 2017, Buttigieg announced his engagement to Chasten Glezman, a junior high school teacher. They had been dating since August 2015 after meeting on the dating app Hinge. They were married on June 16, 2018, in a private ceremony at the Cathedral of St. James in South Bend.

This made Buttigieg the first mayor of South Bend to get married while in office. Chasten uses his husband’s surname, Buttigieg.

For the 2018 midterms, Buttigieg founded the political action committee Hitting Home PAC and campaigned for candidates in more than a dozen states.

In December 2018, Buttigieg announced that he would not seek a third term as mayor of South Bend and endorsed his chief of staff, James Mueller, to replace him in the upcoming election.

Buttigieg published his first book, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, in 2019.

Buttigieg sought the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2019. Had he been elected, he would have been the youngest and first openly gay American president.

Buttigieg identifies as a democratic capitalist and has decried crony capitalism. He has entertained the possibility of antitrust actions against large technology companies on the basis of privacy and data security concerns. During the Democratic primary, he supported deficit and debt reduction, arguing that large debt makes it harder to invest in infrastructure, health, and safety.

During his 2020 campaign for the Democratic nomination, Buttigieg proposed spending $1 trillion on U.S. infrastructure projects over the next 10 years, estimating that the plan would create at least 6 million jobs. The plan focused on green energy, protecting tap water from lead, fixing roads and bridges, improving public transportation, repairing schools, guaranteeing broadband internet access, and preparing communities for floods and other natural disasters.

In April 2020, Buttigieg launched Win The Era PAC – a new super PAC to raise money and distribute it to down-ballot Democrats.

On June 8, 2020 the University of Notre Dame announced that it had hired Buttigieg as a teacher and researcher for the 2020–21 academic year.

Buttigieg acted as a surrogate for Biden’s campaign in the general election. He delivered a speech on the closing night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

On September 5, 2020, Buttigieg was announced to be a member of the advisory council of the Biden-Harris Transition Team, which is planning the presidential transition of Joe Biden.

Ahead of the vice presidential debate, Buttigieg played the role of Republican vice president Mike Pence in Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’ debate prep. Buttigieg was selected to do this because of his experience working with Pence during the overlapping time when Buttigieg was serving as mayor and Pence was serving as governor of Indiana.

In October 2020, Buttigieg released his second book, Trust: America’s Best Chance.

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