Pete Buttigieg (2021- )
Peter “Pete” Paul Montgomery Buttigieg was born on January 19, 1982, in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Joseph and Jennifer Anne Buttigieg. His father, Joseph, immigrated from Malta and taught literature at the University of Notre Dame. His mother was a linguist and professor, also at the University of Notre Dame. Pete graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in history and literature in 2004. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics.
After graduation, Buttigieg worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. He decided to enlist in the military in 2007, joining the US Navy Reserve. He was made a lieutenant in 2009. Buttigieg ran for office for the first time as a Democrat in 2010 when he made a bid for Treasurer of Indiana. He lost the election but he ran for elected office again in 2011 as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and won. During his first term, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and took a seven-month leave of absence from his mayoral duties. He ran again for mayor in 2015, and during the campaign, he came out as gay in an essay in the local newspaper, the South Bend Tribune. He was re-elected soon after. In 2018, Buttigieg married Chasten Buttigieg.
Buttigieg decided not to run for a third mayoral term and instead announced in April 2019 that he was running for the Democratic nomination for president. Buttigieg won the contentious Iowa caucus and came in second in the New Hampshire primary. Despite a strong start, following the South Carolina primaries, Buttigieg exited the race and endorsed Joe Biden.
President-elect Biden announced that he was nominating Buttigieg for Secretary of Transportation on December 15, 2020, and the US Senate confirmed Buttigieg on February 2, 2021 by a vote of 86 to 13. He was sworn in the next day, becoming the first openly gay person to serve in a presidential cabinet. As secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg is head of the agency with jurisdiction over highways, air traffic, and railroads, and he is expected to play a large role in trying to gain support for and implementing President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan.