The U.S. Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday as transportation secretary in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted he was “honored and humbled” by the Senate’s 86-13 confirmation vote and that he was “ready to get to work.”
Buttigieg, an opponent of Biden during the Democratic presidential primaries, is the first openly gay person to fill a U.S. Cabinet position.
The 39-year-old will play a leading role in advancing Biden’s infrastructure rebuilding and climate change agendas.
He assumes control of an agency with 55,000 employees and a multibillion-dollar budget.
He has vowed to begin quickly promoting safety and restoring trust in the country’s transportation systems as airlines, city subway and bus systems, and Amtrak struggle to regain customers lost during the coronavirus pandemic.
Buttigieg is also expected to play a leading role in implementing Biden’s $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan that will focus on rebuilding roads and bridges, expanding zero-emission mass transit, and building 500,000 charging stations over the next decade.
During the confirmation hearing, some Republican senators signaled probable fights over the cost and scope of Biden’s plans to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, specifically questioning the administration’s interest in redirecting federal funds for climate initiatives.