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LGBTQ groups celebrate Buttigieg pick for Transportation secretary

Two of the nation’s top LGBTQ advocacy groups celebration Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE’s nomination to be President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE’s Transportation secretary.

Should Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., be confirmed to the post, he would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate. Rick Grenell, who served as the acting director of national intelligence from February to May, was the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.

“Let’s celebrate this step toward greater LGBTQ visibility and continue to strive for more representation of our diverse community at all levels of the administration,” tweeted the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group. 

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“Pete’s nomination is a new milestone in a decades-long effort to ensure LGBTQ people are represented throughout our government – and its impact will reverberate well-beyond the department he will lead. It distances our nation from a troubled legacy of barring out LGBTQ people from government positions and moves us closer to the President-elect’s vision of a government that reflects America,” added Annise Parker, president of LGBTQ Victory Institute. “As an out LGBTQ person, Pete will bring a unique perspective that will inform and influence policy throughout the federal government. Most important, however, is that Pete will bring his intellect and energy to the Department of Transportation and our nation will be better off because of it.” 

Buttigieg rose to national prominence this year during his long shot presidential bid, which quickly caught fire and won him a victory in the Iowa caucuses. While his White House bid ultimately flamed out, he was widely recognized as a rising star in the Democratic Party and, given the red tilt of his home state of Indiana, was considered a likely nominee for some post in a Democratic administration.

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"Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation," Biden said in a statement announcing his nomination of Buttigieg. "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." 

However, local activists in South Bend who were frustrated with the former mayor’s record on race, particularly after a police shooting of a Black man in the city, expressed outrage over the nomination.

“You’ll recall that in his Build Back Better agenda, one of Biden’s top promises was millions of clean-energy jobs. We know that infrastructure runs through the Department of Transportation. South Bend residents know that in addition to our former small-town mayor being completely unqualified to run a Cabinet agency, Pete Buttigieg would continue his record of hurting Black communities every day in his decision making. We strongly believe that hurting Black communities is not worth the price of doing a political favor for Pete Buttigieg,” said Jorden Giger, a Black Lives Matter organizer in South Bend.