VIDEO: Biden formally announces Buttigieg nomination for Sec. of Transportation
President-elect Joe Biden held a press conference Wednesday to introduce former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for Secretary of Transportation.
Buttigieg, 38, is the youngest pick for Biden’s cabinet and is the first non-acting LGBT department head in history.
Transcript of Pete Buttigieg's comments:
Well, Mr. President elect, Madam Vice President elect, thank you so much for entrusting me with this opportunity to serve the American people.
I am humbled by your confidence. Eager to do everything in my power to ensure that this administration succeeds. My hometown South Bend, Indiana, was built by the power of American transportation from trade along the river. Who's been gives our city its name to the rail lines that connected us to the rest of the country back when we were considered the West. Livelihoods created. By the good paying union jobs that places like the aeronautical supplier Bendix and the giant auto assembly of Studebaker. Now, climate and infrastructure innovation or helping bring my community into the 21st century. Also had a personal love of transportation ever since childhood. More than once as a college student. I would convince a friend to travel nearly 1000 miles back to Indiana with me on Amtrak. No, I know that in this administration, I will best aspire to be the second biggest train enthusiast around. Spent a spring break in graduate school aboard a cargo ship studying there.
Travel in my mind is synonymous with growth, with adventure, even love. So much so that I proposed to my husband Chasten in an airport terminal. So, don't let anybody tell you that O'Hare isn't romantic. And I want to take this chance to thank Chasten for everything that he gives and everything that he sacrifices to support me in public service.
First time I ran for office was on a platform of supporting the Obama Biden administration's rescue of the auto industry. And when I did first take office as mayor. City fighting its way out of the teeth of the great recession infrastructure was at the heart of our vision. We reimagined how vehicles and people moved through the city, unlocking new economic vibrancy in our urban core. We built up partnerships from a regional collaboration to improve rail service to the public private partnership that put our city at the cutting edge of bicycle mobility. We develop new forms of support for lower wage workers and their commutes and added electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Help prepare for a more sustainable future. Also dealt with the challenges created by generations of often inadequate state and federal infrastructure funding. With just enough resources to replenish the paving of every lane mile of street and our city on Lee, every 100 years or so I faced a constant battle with that. Natural enemy of all mayors, the pothole. In a community where more than a quarter of our residents lived in poverty. We worked to fill in the gaps that were created. When underfunded transit resources left too many cut off from opportunity just because they didn't have the means to own a car. At its best transportation makes the American dream possible. Getting people and goods to where they need to be. Directly and indirectly creating good paying jobs. Its worst misguided policies and missed opportunities can reinforce racial, economic and environmental injustice. Dividing or isolating neighborhoods, undermining governments basic role to empower everyone to thrive. And now comes a historic opportunity. This administration can deliver policies and resources that will create jobs. Rise to the climate challenge. And equitably serve all Americans. All while continuing to ensure the safety of travelers and workers alike.
America has given this administration a mandate to build back better. And step one in building back better, literally, is to build. Americans shouldn't settle for less than our peers in the developed world when it comes to our roads and bridges, our railways and transit systems. The U.S. should lead the way. And I know that in this administration, we will. We’ll bring together leaders and communities from every corner, labor and business, left, right, and center.
Urban and rural, communities of color, tribal nations. Mayors, counties, states. Everyone who has a stake in American infrastructure to design a better future.
Americans expect us to see to it. The idea of an infrastructure week is associated with results and never again a media punch line.
My view, this opportunity also shaped by being the youngest member so far named to this Cabinet, and the first millennial invited to a seat at that table. You were generations have a lot at stake in infrastructure policy that by its nature must contemplate both the immediate And the long term. The question of how America will look by the middle of this century. Competitiveness of our economy, the security of our climate.
For me, this isn't academic. It's personal. I’m also mindful that the eyes of history are on this appointment, knowing that this is the first time an American president has ever sent an openly LGBTQ Cabinet member to the Senate for confirmation. I can remember watching the news.
17 years old in Indiana, seeing a story about an appointee of President Clinton named to be an ambassador attacked and denied a vote in the Senate, because he was gay. Ultimately able to serve only by a recess appointment. At the time, I had no aspirations of being appointed by a president to anything. At that age, I was hoping to be an airline pilot.
And I was a long way from coming out, even to myself. But still, I watched that story. And I learned something about some of the limits that exist in this country when it comes to who is allowed to belong. But just as important, I saw how those limits could be challenged.
So, two decades later, I can't help but think of a 17 year old somewhere who might be watching this right now. Somebody who wonders whether and where they belong in the world, or even in their own family. And I'm thinking about the message that today's announcement is sending to them. So, thank you, Mr President elect. Thank you for honoring your commitment to diversity with this administration that you're assembling.
And thank you, Madam Vice President elect for your trailblazing leadership, your encouragement, and your friendship. There is no greater source of meaning in professional life than the chance to serve others. I felt that meaning every time I laced up my boots when I was in the military, every time I came to work when I was a mayor.
And I feel it here now joining this historic team with such an important mission, preparing to deliver for all Americans. Thank you.