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Who is Pete Buttigieg, Biden's new secretary of transportation?

After promising the most diverse cabinet in US history, Biden steams ahead tapping the top jobs for his new administration. Who is "Mayor Pete"?

Who is Pete Buttigieg, Biden's new secretary of transportation?
ELIZABETH FRANTZ REUTERS

Pete Buttigieg, or “Mayor Pete” quickly emerged to be the frontrunner for Joe Biden’s Secretary of Transportation in recent days. Now in an exclusive according to Reuters, two sources have confirmed that he will indeed be offered the job.

It would be a meteoric rise into cabinet for Buttigieg if confirmed, who is rumoured to have also been considered for posts as the United Nations ambassador, secretary of Veterans Affairs and Commerce secretary.

He would be fending off hot competition too; other Democrats to be considered so far for the Transportation post are former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Buttigieg won favour with Biden this year following a crucial endorsement ahead of Super Tuesday during the primaries in March and his dedicated campaign schedule in favour of the Democratic nominee. During the campaign he made himself known publicly and showed clear ambition for a top cabinet position. Buttigieg has shown his ambitions before, too. Before dropping his own campaign to back Biden's, he ran for president himself this year as a - by all accounts – highly under-qualified 38-year-old.

Who is Pete Buttigieg?

A Harvard graduate, for the last eight years Buttigieg was the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He finished this post in 2019 when he didn’t seek reelection. He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2014, during his tenure as mayor and was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months.

Openly gay, if confirmed in the Senate, Buttigieg would be the first LGBTQ cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the upper chamber. He came out publicly in 2015, in an essay in the South Bend Tribune and won reelection to mayor later that year.

Before running for office, Buttigieg was a consultant at global management consultancy McKinsey & Company in Chicago.

Buttigieg: unlikely parallels with incumbent Trump

While they don’t share much in the way of ideology or style, Buttigieg certainly learned from the Donald Trump media-courting school. As observed by Vox, Buttigieg has harnessed the belief that in a crowded field, attention is the scarcest commodity, so maxing out on media exposure pays dividends. This year he has aggressively said “yes” to every opportunity that comes his way to get his face seen and his message heard.

Pete Buttigieg has even launched his own podcast talking to a different figure each week on issues in American politics and society, called The Deciding Decade