President-elect Joe Biden plans to
nominate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as
his secretary of transportation.
The nomination makes Buttigieg, an
Afghanistan war veteran, the nation's first openly gay presidential
cabinet nominee. Ric Grenell became the first openly gay official to
serve in the cabinet when President Donald Trump selected him as
acting director of national intelligence. Buttigieg's nomination,
however, must be approved by the Senate.
After news of the nomination was
reported, the Biden team confirmed the reports.
Also being considered for the post were
Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric
Buttigieg competed against Biden for
the Democratic Party presidential nomination and briefly was leading
in the contest.
Equality California, the state's
largest LGBT rights advocate, supported Buttigieg's presidential
campaign. In a statement, Rick Chavez, the group's executive
director, said, “Today, more than ever, we are proud to be on Team
“With President-Elect Joe Biden’s
historic announcement today, I am filled with hope and pride,”
Chavez said. “When confirmed, Pete Buttigieg will not only be the
first openly LGBTQ+ Cabinet secretary, but the highest ranking openly
LGBTQ+ federal official in American history. I want LGBTQ+ young
people across the country to see Secretary Buttigieg and know that
the sky is the limit.”
“In 1957, Frank Kameny was fired from
his job as an astronomer in the U.S. Army Map Service because he was
gay. He was one of thousands of LGBTQ+ people who have been barred
from serving in government positions throughout our nation’s
history – not because they weren't up for the job, but because of
their sexual orientation or gender identity. Today, as they build the
most diverse Cabinet ever, President-Elect Biden and Vice
President-Elect Harris are shutting the door forever on that painful
legacy and sending a clear message to LGBTQ+ people everywhere that
we deserve a seat at every table and belong in every hall of power,”
After he ended his presidential
campaign, Buttigieg joined the Biden campaign, becoming one of the
president-elect's top surrogates.
Buttigieg won a second term as mayor
after announcing he's gay. In 2018, he married Chasten Buttigieg, who
frequently joined him on the campaign trail.