Who is Pete Buttigieg – newly designated transportation ministry?
Pete Buttigieg – newly designated transportation ministry. Photo: Vogue

Who is Pete Buttigieg – newly designated transportation ministry?

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg (/ˈbuːtədʒɛdʒ/ BOOT-ə-jej; born January 19, 1982) is an American politician who was mayor of South Bend, Indiana, from 2012 to 2020. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States presidential election.

Pete Buttigieg's early life

Buttigieg was born on January 19, 1982, in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Jennifer Anne Montgomery and Joseph A. Buttigieg. His parents met and married while employed as faculty at New Mexico State University. His father was born and raised in Hamrun, Malta, and had studied to be a Jesuit before emigrating to the United States and embarking on a secular career as a professor of literature at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, where he taught for 29 years. His mother was born in Stanislaus County, California, graduated from Radford High School in El Paso, Texas, and attended the University of Texas, receiving her BA and MA in 1967; her mother was born in Oklahoma, and her father was born in Indiana.

Pete Buttigieg's Education

Buttigieg was valedictorian of the class of 2000 at St. Joseph High School in South Bend. That year, he won first prize in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's Profiles in Courage essay contest. He travelled to Boston to accept the award and met Caroline Kennedy and other members of President Kennedy's family.

Buttigieg attended Harvard University, where he majored in history and literature. He became president of the Student Advisory Committee of the Harvard Institute of Politics and worked on the institute's annual study of youth attitudes on politics.

Upon graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 2004, Buttigieg was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa and awarded a Rhodes Scholarship; in 2007, he received a master's of arts degree with first-class honours in philosophy, politics, and economics after studying at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Professional career

Before graduating from college, Buttigieg was an investigative intern at WMAQ-TV, Chicago's NBC News affiliate. He also interned for Democrat Jill Long Thompson during her unsuccessful 2002 congressional bid. In 2006, he lent assistance to Joe Donnelly's successful congressional campaign.

From 2004 to 2005, Buttigieg was conference director of the Cohen Group. For several months in Arizona and New Mexico, Buttigieg worked on John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign as a policy and research specialist. When he accepted the offer to work for Kerry's campaign, he declined another to work for Barack Obama's 2004 United States Senate campaign.

Buttigieg has been involved with the Truman National Security Project since 2005 and serves as a fellow with expertise in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2014, he was named to the organization's board of advisors.

Military service

Buttigieg joined the U.S. Navy Reserve through the direct commission officer (DCO) program and was sworn in as an ensign in naval intelligence in September 2009. In 2014, he took a seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan. Buttigieg was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal and resigned his commission from the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2017.

Who is Pete Buttigieg – newly designated transportation ministry?

Pete Buttigieg as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Photo: South Bend Tribune

Mayor South Bend, Indiana: Election and transition


Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend in the November 2011 election, with 10,991 of the 14,883 votes cast (74%). He took office in January 2012 at age 29, becoming the second-youngest mayor in South Bend history—Schuyler Colfax III became mayor at age 28 in 1898—and the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with at least 100,000 residents. In 2011, as South Bend's mayor-elect, Buttigieg supported John Broden in his successful bid to become St. Joseph County Democratic Party, chairman.

Second term: Reelection in 2015

In 2014, Buttigieg announced that he would seek a second term. He won the Democratic primary with 78% of the vote, defeating Henry Davis Jr., the city councilman from the Second District. In November 2015, he was elected to his second term as mayor with over 80% of the vote, defeating Republican Kelly Jones by a margin of 8,515 to 2,074 votes.

2017 DNC Chair Election

In January 2017, Buttigieg announced his candidacy for chair of the Democratic National Committee in its 2017 chairmanship election. He built a national profile as an emerging dark horse in the race for the chairmanship with the backing of former DNC chairman Howard Dean, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, Indiana senator Joe Donnelly, and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Buttigieg "campaigned on the idea that the ageing Democratic Party needed to empower its millennial members".

Former U.S. secretary of labour Tom Perez and U.S. representative Keith Ellison quickly emerged as the favoured candidates of a majority of DNC members. Buttigieg withdrew from the race on the day of the election without endorsing a candidate, and Perez was elected chair after two rounds of voting.

2020 Presidential Campaign

On January 23, 2019, Buttigieg announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States in the upcoming 2020 election. Buttigieg sought the Democratic Party nomination for president. If he was elected, he would have been the youngest and first openly gay American president. Buttigieg officially launched his campaign on April 14, 2019, in South Bend.

Buttigieg describes himself as a progressive and a supporter of democratic capitalism. Historian David Mislin identifies Buttigieg as a pragmatic progressive in the tradition of the Social Gospel movement once strong in the Midwest. Buttigieg identifies regulatory capture as a significant problem in American society.

In early February 2020, Buttigieg led the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses results with 26.2% to Bernie Sanders’ 26.1%, winning 14 delegates to Sanders’s 12. The LGBTQ Victory Fund, Buttigieg’s first national endorsement, noted the historical first of an LGBTQ candidate winning a state presidential primary.

He came second to Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. After coming a distant fourth in South Carolina, Buttigieg dropped out of the race on March 1, 2020.

Biden's confirmation about the appointment of Buttigief for being newly designated transportation ministry

When Biden took control of the race after winning the South Carolina primary in February, Buttigieg quickly dropped out and endorsed him, helping Biden consolidate the support of the moderate, establishment wing of the party. It is revealed by the reuters that he became a valued Biden supporter on television in the election’s final weeks.

Who is Pete Buttigieg – newly designated transportation ministry?
Photo: Financial Times.

Buttigieg had been rumoured for several different spots in Biden’s administration. He was surprisingly competitive during the Democratic Party presidential race, winning the first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa, showing formidable fundraising might and enjoying massive popularity on social media.

“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.”

The appointment of Buttigieg, 38, is another step in a meteoric political rise for the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who showed surprising strength as a presidential candidate. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would run a sprawling federal agency that oversees the nation’s airlines, highways and transit systems. Buttigieg would also make history as the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet secretary to be approved by the Senate.

Despite being viewed as a rising star within the party, Buttigieg’s potential nomination to a Cabinet post has been opposed by a number of progressive groups and Black leaders who have criticized his record on civil rights.

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