LGBTQ groups celebrate Buttigieg pick for Transportation secretary

Two of the nation’s top LGBTQ advocacy groups celebration Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries Buttigieg says he'd go on space flight 'in a heartbeat' Biden signs sweeping order to bolster US competition, target big business MORE’s nomination to be President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks 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.