Who Is Pete Buttigieg?

Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation on Feb. 3, 2021. The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and presidential candidate, was nominated by President Joe Biden.

In this role, Buttigieg leads the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure the safety and efficiency of the U.S. transportation system. Buttigieg serves in a leadership role in maintaining and enhancing the nation's infrastructure.

Key Takeways

  • Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay cabinet member in the U.S. government's history.
  • Buttigieg is the former mayor (its youngest ever) of South Bend, Ind., where he grew up.
  • He is a former Rhodes Scholar and attended Harvard University.
  • Buttigieg leads the U.S. Department of Transportation under the Biden administration.
  • He served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and he was stationed in Afghanistan.
Pete Buttigieg

Investopedia / Lara Antal

Early Life and Education

Buttigieg was born on Jan. 19, 1982, in his hometown of South Bend, Ind., where he spent his childhood. His late father, Joseph Buttigieg, immigrated from Malta, and his mother, Jennifer Montgomery, was born and raised in Indiana. His father taught literature, and his mother taught linguistics. His parents were professors for nearly 30 years at Notre Dame University.

Buttigieg attended St. Joseph High School, where he was his class valedictorian. He graduated from Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor's degree. After he graduated, he was awarded the prestigious title of Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. His desire to work in politics began early and worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004.

He served seven years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, taking a leave of absence as South Bend mayor to serve in Afghanistan in 2014.

As chief of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Buttigieg is tasked with supporting and working to implement President Biden's immense infrastructure agenda, plus help shore up the battered (due in part to the coronavirus pandemic) transportation industry across many sectors.

Notable Accomplishments

Buttigieg, a Democrat, was sworn in as mayor of South Bend in 2012 and was the youngest U.S. mayor serving a community of more than 100,000 residents at the time of his election. After serving two terms, he did not run again and left office on Jan. 1, 2020.

Buttigieg officially announced his presidential campaign in April 2019. He had previously run unsuccessfully for the chairship of the Democratic National Committee in 2017. Considered a relative political unknown before his presidential campaign, Buttigieg set himself apart as the youngest candidate in the Democratic primary and the first openly gay person to launch a presidential campaign. Soon after dropping out of the race in March 2020, Buttigieg endorsed Biden.

Personal Life

Although a relative outsider in transportation, outside of his experience as mayor, Buttigieg adds diversity to the cabinet as its first openly gay member. He married author Chasten Buttigieg in June 2018, and the couple has two young children, Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg. The twins were born in the late summer of 2021.

He is extremely close with his mother, who attended many political events with her son. The son of a linguist, Buttigieg is fluent in Italian, Spanish, Maltese, Dari Persian, Arabic, and French. According to media reports, he also speaks Norweigan, which he taught himself.

Who Is Pete Buttigieg's Husband?

Pete Buttigieg married Chasten Glezman in 2018 after dating for three years. Buttigieg and his spouse have two children.

Did Pete Buttigieg Run for President?

Pete Buttigieg ran for president in the Democratic primary. He dropped out in March 2020 and endorsed Joe Biden, who won the presidency.

Is Pete Buttigieg Mayor of South Bend?

Pete Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., where he served two terms. He was elected in 2012 and left in 2020 to run for president.

Who Is the Secretary of Transportation?

President Joe Biden nominated and the Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg as the Secretary of Transportation.

The Bottom Line

Buttigieg is viewed as likely to advance President Biden's ambitious agenda on both infrastructure repair and climate change. Buttigieg may take a more climate-centric approach than some of his predecessors, particularly as the Department of Transportation has the authority to regulate vehicle emissions.

Article Sources
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  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. "About Us."

  3. Biography. "Pete Buttigieg."

  4. The White House. "President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law."

  5. City of South Bend, Indiana. "Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Bio - Long Version."

  6. C-SPAN. "Campaign 2020, Pete Buttigieg's Official Campaign Announcement Rally," Timestamp 1:15:04, April 14, 2019. (Video.)

  7. Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media, Inc. "South Bend Mayor Announces Run For DNC Chair."

  8. National Public Radio. "Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar Endorse Joe Biden."

  9. The New York Times. "Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Welcome 2 Children to Their Family."

  10. The Washington Post. "How Does Pete Buttigieg Feel?"