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Joe Biden reveals former rival as his pick for transport secretary

Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay person to take up a role in the US Cabinet.

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Joe Biden has announced Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for transport secretary (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

Joe Biden has announced Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for transport secretary (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

Joe Biden has announced Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for transport secretary (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

US president-elect Joe Biden has introduced Democratic primary rival Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for transport.

He described the 38-year-old ex-mayor as “a new voice, with new ideas, determined to move past old politics”.

Mr Buttigieg, a former city leader of South Bend, Indiana, would be the first openly gay person confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet post.

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Pete Buttigieg addresses the media after the announcement of his nomination (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

Pete Buttigieg addresses the media after the announcement of his nomination (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

Pete Buttigieg addresses the media after the announcement of his nomination (Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AP)

This was welcomed by Mr Biden, who said by the time he is done filling out his new administration’s top positions it will have more women and people of colour than ever, promising “a Cabinet of barrier-breakers”.

He said of Mr Buttigieg, who has served as a Navy reserve intelligence officer: “We need someone who knows how to work with state, local and federal agencies.”

The nomination was applauded by union leaders, transport industry officials, LGBTQ activists and Democratic politicians as a solid pick by Mr Biden.

If confirmed, Mr Buttigieg will have much on his plate.

He will be tasked with putting in place Mr Biden’s proposals to spend billions making major infrastructure improvements and on retrofitting initiatives that can help the US fight climate change.

More immediately, the president-elect also wants to make mask-wearing mandatory on planes and public transport to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Its impact will reverberate well beyond the department he will leadAnnise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Institute

In the US election primaries, Mr Biden took a shining to Mr Buttigieg, who he said reminded him of his late son Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general who had urged his father to make a third run for the White House.

Mr Biden’s selection of Mr Buttigieg for transport secretary drew praise from LGBTQ rights groups, with one calling it “a new milestone in a decades-long effort” to have LGBTQ representation in the US government.

“Its impact will reverberate well beyond the department he will lead,” added Annise Parker, president and chief executive of the LGBTQ Victory Institute.

But the South Bend chapter of Black Lives Matter denounced Mr Buttigieg’s nomination.

The group made its displeasure of Mr Buttigieg known during his presidential campaign, following the 2019 South Bend shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

“We saw black communities have their houses torn down by his administration,” BLM’s South Bend leader Jorden Giger said in a statement, referring to Mr Buttigieg’s effort to tear down substandard housing.

“We saw the machinery of his police turned against black people.”

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