President-elect Joe Biden has named Pete Buttigieg, one of his former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, as head of the Department of Transportation in his new administration, according to news accounts Tuesday.
Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was a surprise contender in the Democratic presidential race last year. He was the first openly gay major party candidate to win convention delegates in a bid for the White House.
But Buttigieg’s campaign eventually stalled, and he dropped out of the race before the Democratic Party primaries in early March, and later endorsed Biden.
Biden has compared the 38-year-old Buttigieg to his late son, Beau.
“To me, it’s the highest compliment I can give any man or woman. And like Beau, he has a backbone like a ramrod,” Biden said of Buttigieg.
Buttigieg has been married to his husband, Chasten, since 2018.
As Transportation chief, Buttigieg would help oversee the country’s highway system, planes, trains and mass transit systems.
Biden has pledged to spend billions of dollars to make major infrastructure improvements, part of the new president’s effort to boost the economy that has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.