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Buttigieg confirmed as transportation secretary

Hoosier Pete Buttigieg has been confirmed as the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation, becoming the first openly gay person to hold a cabinet-level position in the national government. Formerly the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg has put Indiana in the spotlight since running as a Democratic candidate for president in the 2020 election. The U.S. Senate confirmed him as transportation secretary in an 86-13 vote Tuesday.

In his opening statement leading into Congressional hearings to confirm his nomination to the post by newly elected President Joe Biden, Buttigieg introduced his husband, theatre teacher Chasten Buttigieg.

“This confirmation breaks through a barrier that has existed for too long; where LGBTQ identity served as an impediment to nomination or confirmation at the highest level of government,” the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. “President Biden promised to deliver an administration representative of the diversity of this nation, and this confirmation is a significant achievement toward that goal.”

Indiana politicians on both sides of the aisle are supporting the confirmation.

“Investing in America’s infrastructure like roads, rails and waterways is not a partisan issue, and I’m pleased to have a Hoosier at the helm of the Department of Transportation,” Republican Indiana Sen. Todd Young said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg to continue to bring investment to Indiana.”

Indiana’s other senator, Republican Mike Braun, also voted to confirm Buttigieg, citing in a statement “conversations with him where [Buttigieg] committed to finding bipartisan solutions to confront the transportation and infrastructure challenges facing our country and acknowledged that funding infrastructure with more debt is not sustainable.”

“As the former CEO of a transportation and logistics company headquartered in Jasper, I know firsthand that Indiana is the Crossroads of America and a hub for auto manufacturing,” Braun said, “and Hoosiers need robust and sustainable assistance from the federal government to maintain and expand our transportation infrastructure.”

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