Pete Buttigieg Confirmed By U.S. Senate As Transportation Secretary

( Pete Buttigieg, a former 2020 Democratic candidate for president, was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s new Transportation secretary on Tuesday.

The Senate voted 86-13 to confirm Buttigieg, who is also the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Last week, he received approval from the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and then won overwhelming support from the full Senate on Tuesday.

At 39 years old, Buttigieg is one of the youngest person to ever hold a Cabinet position. He’s also the first openly gay person to hold a position in a president’s Cabinet.

Following the hearing, Buttigieg tweeted his appreciation, writing:

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

The new Transportation Secretary also said he was “mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment.” He said he recalled seeing the news as a 17-year-old that a potential nominee of then-President Bill Clinton didn’t even receive a vote in the Senate because of the fact the he was gay.

During Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, Chasten, Buttigieg’s husband, sat behind him in the room, watching the hearing.

Buttigieg is one of the more visible faces that will lead the Transportation Department. In addition to running for the Democratic nomination for president, he has appeared on many talk shows and been a present face on TV.

Buttigieg enters a job that has a lot of challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic as well as environmental issues that are near and dear to the Biden administration.

The U.S. Department of Transportation employs more than 55,000 people and handles everything from pipelines, to railroads, air traffic and federal highways. In just the first two weeks of his administration, Biden has already taken action on transportation that will now fall under Buttigieg’s purview.

Biden extended the ban on entry into America from almost all non-U.S. citizens who have been to most of Europe, the UK and Brazil recently. On Tuesday, the government also started requiring all passengers to wear a mask on ferries, trains, airplanes, buses and other transportation forms.

The president is also a big proponent of renewable energy, which the DOT could play a huge role in. It’s likely that Biden will want to have federal agencies re-examine the fuel emissions standards that former President Donald Trump cut from vehicle manufacturers.

The current president has also said he wants to investigate replacing the federal government’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles that have been assembled in the United States.

Biden’s reported infrastructure proposals may include what he’s calling a “second great railroad revolution.” He also may seek funding “to build more climate-resilient communities to deal with more extreme floods, droughts and super storms.”

These are all things that Buttigieg will now be faced with during his time as Transportation Secretary. He now will either be a force that can help Biden drive his vision for change, or possibly limit or stand in the way of it. It’s likely he’ll do the former, even though the two faced down against each other in the Democratic primary race for president last year.