Kamala Harris has paid tribute to the “boundary-breaking” Pete Buttigieg (Twitter/Pete Buttigieg)
Kamala Harris has paid tribute to the “boundary-breaking” Pete Buttigieg, as he is sworn in as Joe Biden’s secretary of transportation.
With his husband Chasten at his side on Wednesday (3 February, Pete Buttigieg was officially sworn in on his family Bible by Kamala Harris, officially making him the first openly gay person to hold a full-time, Senate-confirmed cabinet position.
The vice president, no stranger to breaking barriers herself, took a moment to acknowledge the historic nature of the moment.
She tweeted: “This morning, I swore in Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation. @SecretaryPete is a true problem-solver.
“He will bring people together to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure. And he will keep breaking boundaries while he’s at it. Congratulations, Mr Secretary.”
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris congratulate Pete Buttigieg on milestone appointment
Joe Biden added: “History made. Congratulations, @SecretaryPete — now let’s get to work building our nation’s infrastructure back better, creating good-paying, union jobs, and addressing the climate crisis.”
Buttigieg responded: “Thank you @VP for officially swearing me in this morning. I’m humbled to join an administration full of remarkable leaders who have broken barriers on the road to public service.”
The swearing-in went ahead after Buttigieg was confirmed to the role by a vote of 86-13 in the Senate, gaining a majority among Republicans as well as universal support from Democrats.
The confirmation placed Buttigieg, a Democratic rising star with continued ambitions to seek high office, in charge of a department with a $72 billion budget and 58,000-strong workforce.
Buttigieg is expected to play a critical part in pushing Biden‘s progressive agenda of restoring the country’s infrastructure and, crucially, fulfilling the president’s climate change promises – a key plank of his pledges.
Pete Buttigieg says transport policy ‘makes possible the American Dream’
In a video after the swearing-in, Buttigieg said: “We all go on journeys every day, large and small. There are journeys that get us out to where we need to go, and those who bring us home to those we love.
“Every one of our journeys is shaped by the moment that we live in. Today we face an unprecedented health crisis. We’re navigating an economy in danger, and our nation is recognising the impacts of systemic racism.
There is so much work ahead of us, but I am deeply optimistic about the future of American travel. pic.twitter.com/O2ax5kx9kX
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 3, 2021
“But with new leadership, comes a new opportunity, a chance to build our transportation system back, better than it ever was before.
“That means delivering transportation resources that not only keep passengers and workers safe, but help distribute life-saving vaccines.
“It means investing in infrastructure to meet our climate imperatives and create millions of good-paying jobs.
“It means working with partners to ensure that no American is left behind. I believe good transportation policy can play no less a role than making possible the American Dream.”