US President-elect Joe Biden chose Pete Buttigieg, one of his former rivals in the Democratic presidential nomination, to serve in his government as transportation secretary.
US media reported that Biden chose the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for a position that would give the rising star of the Democratic Party a central role in shaping policy on infrastructure and climate.
Biden, who has pledged to name the most diverse government in history, continues to fill his cabinet before his inauguration, and Buttigieg would be the first openly gay cabinet minister if confirmed.
According to a person familiar with Biden’s plans, he chose Gina McCarthy, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to be their local climate coordinator. The role will see her work closely with John Kerry, the former Secretary of State who has been appointed as Mr. Biden’s climate envoy on the international stage.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, has been named Energy Secretary, according to US media reports. Biden’s transition team declined to comment on any of the appointments.
Mr Buttigieg was seen as a long shot at the nomination when he launched his campaign, but the veteran military fighter, who served in Afghanistan, rose to the top of the field and ended up winning caucuses in Iowa and finishing second in the New Hampshire primary.
He was one of several contenders to pull out immediately after Biden revived his campaign with his victory in South Carolina, paving the way for the former Vice President to defeat Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator.
While Biden and Buttigieg clashed on the presidential debate stage, Biden later said Bottegaage reminded him of his deceased son Bo, a former attorney general and veteran warrior who served in Iraq.
“I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, but he reminds me of my son, Boo,” Biden said in March at a campaign event in Dallas where Buttigieg supported his former rival.
Reports indicated that Biden may ask Buttigieg to become ambassador to China, but some Democrats rejected this idea, saying that he did not want to be away from Washington due to his political ambitions.
Biden is expected to give top priority to infrastructure policy, partly to rebuild the dilapidated roads and bridges that have plagued parts of the United States, but also to help create jobs to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus pandemic.
Rodney Slater, the former Clinton administration transportation secretary, said Buttigieg was a strong choice given his experience running a city.
“When you think about everything the president-elect has talked about in his plan to build better, with its focus on infrastructure, and having to deal with the implications for climate as it relates to this issue, you need someone who has a connection to Pete Buttigieg,” Mr. Slater said. Now a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, Washington.
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