Joe Biden picks ‘barrier-breaking’ Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, who is the first openly gay cabinet member
PIC: Associated Press

US President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, elevating the former mayor of Indiana and a one-time rival to a top post in his Cabinet.

The first openly gay major presidential candidate in American history, and one of the youngest-ever to win a state primary or caucus, Buttigieg, 38, is a barrier-breaking public servant from the industrial Midwest with a track record of trailblazing, forward-thinking executive leadership.

Buttigieg vaulted to national prominence due to his success in revitalising his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. First elected at the age of 29, Buttigieg worked inclusively and creatively to bring together public, private, and community leaders to restore pride to South Bend and turn the city - once called one of America's "dying cities" - into a bustling hub of innovation and job growth.

"Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation. I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us," Biden said in a statement.

"Jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate all come together at the DOT, the site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better. I trust Mayor Pete to lead this work with focus, decency, and a bold vision - he will bring people together to get big things done," he said.

Buttigieg termed his nomination as a moment of "tremendous opportunity" to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all.

"I'm honored that the President-elect has asked me to serve our nation as Secretary of Transportation. Innovation in transportation helped build my hometown, and it propels our country. Now is the time to build back better through modern and sustainable infrastructure that creates millions of good-paying union jobs, revitalizes communities, and empowers all Americans to thrive," the former said in a tweet.

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