WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate voted 86-13 on Tuesday to confirm Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of the Department of Transportation, marking a major milestone for LGBTQ representation.
Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a Cabinet position. And at 39 years old, he is one of the youngest ever.
Buttigieg's Senate confirmation is historic, but he's not the first openly gay person to serve in a president's cabinet. Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, served as acting national intelligence director under President Donald Trump, but he did not have to face Senate confirmation as an acting director.
President Joe Biden nominated Buttigieg for the transportation role after competing against him in the Democratic presidential primary.
Although Buttigieg had a good showing in the first primary state, Iowa, other candidates ultimately surpassed him in the polls. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, ended up endorsing Biden ahead of Super Tuesday and helped him secure the nomination, and eventually the presidency.
In his new post, Buttigieg will be tasked with advancing Biden’s wide-ranging agenda of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and combating climate change.
The Associated Press reports Buttigieg has pledged to promote safety and restore consumer trust in the nation’s transportation sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.