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.
As Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg leads the Department of Transportation in its efforts 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.
Buttigieg, a Democrat, was sworn in as mayor of South Bend in 2012 and was, at the time of his election, the youngest U.S. mayor serving a community of more than 100,000 residents. 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 prior to his presidential campaign, Buttigieg nonetheless set himself apart as the youngest candidate in the Democratic primary and as the first openly gay person to launch a presidential campaign. Soon after dropping out of the race in March 2020, Buttigieg endorsed Biden.
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 authority to regulate vehicle emissions. Although a relative outsider in the area of transportation, Buttigieg adds diversity to the cabinet as its first openly gay member.
Early Career and Education
Buttigieg 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. Buttigieg earned a bachelor's degree at Harvard University and went on to study at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship.