Buttigieg Becomes The First Millennial Confirmed To A Cabinet Position

Former 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was approved by the Senate as secretary of transportation on Tuesday by a vote of 86-13, becoming the first member of the millennial generation to be confirmed to a Cabinet position.

“I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate – and ready to get to work @USDOT,” Buttigieg tweeted.

Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the youngest person nominated to President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Biden had previously said Buttigieg presents “a new voice with new ideas determined to move past old politics.”

The Associated Press reports, the confirmation also made Buttigieg “the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet post.” However, he is not the first openly gay person to serve in a president’s Cabinet. Former President Donald J. Trump appointed Richard Grenell as acting director of national intelligence last year. But as the AP notes, Grenell “did not have to face Senate confirmation as an acting director.”

“Congratulations to @PeteButtigieg on becoming the second openly gay member of a President’s Cabinet,” Grenell tweeted on Tuesday. “Welcome to the club!”

Since Biden’s inauguration, Buttigieg has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “The View,” and other nationally-televised programs. The Washington Post reports that during Buttigieg’s “media blitz,” he’s been “reprising a role he played on the campaign trail to focus on the new president’s climate change and racial justice goals, in addition to more traditional issues of infrastructure, safety, and federal spending.”

Buttigieg takes over an agency with about 55,000 employees whose mission includes striving “to ensure America has the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system in the world.”

“At its best, transportation makes the American dream possible, getting people and goods to where they need to be, directly and indirectly creating good-paying jobs,” Buttigieg said after being formally nominated for his new role in December. “At its worst, misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, economic and environmental injustice, dividing or isolating neighborhoods, undermining government’s basic role to empower everyone to thrive.”

The Associated Press reports:

He is expected to play an important role in promoting Biden’s sweeping green initiatives, helping to oversee stronger automotive fuel economy standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the president’s push later this year on a $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan. That plan will be focused on rebuilding roads and bridges and expanding zero-emission mass transit while boosting electric vehicle infrastructure, including 500,000 charging stations over the next decade.

In December, Buttigieg said he could recall watching news reports as a teenager about James Hormel, then-President Bill Clinton’s pick for ambassador to Luxembourg. According to the Washington Post, “Hormel was attacked for being gay and denied a Senate vote, an episode seared into then-17-year-old Buttigieg’s memory.”

“I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong,” Buttigieg said. “But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged.”

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