Joe Biden is picking former rival Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary, which means maybe we can actually get the damn Brent Spence Bridge replaced.
President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, elevating the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government.
Buttigieg would be the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary should his nomination make it through the chamber.
The choice -- which represents the first time the President-elect has called on one of his former Democratic presidential opponents to join his administration as a Cabinet secretary -- vaults a candidate Biden spoke glowingly of after the primary into a top job in his incoming administration and could earn Buttigieg what many Democrats believe is needed experience should he run for president again.
The role of transportation secretary is expected to play a central role in Biden's push for a bipartisan infrastructure package.
Buttigieg is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but someone who lacked an obvious path to higher elected office given the continued rightward shift of his home state of Indiana.
As a presidential candidate, he rolled out a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that prioritized upgrading the country's crumbling infrastructure and expanding broadband internet access through payment to state and local governments. Buttigieg often spoke about infrastructure on the campaign trail from the perspective of a small mayor, arguing that local governments like the one he once ran needed people in Washington who understood their needs and issues.
Infrastructure reform had been a priority of Trump's earlier in his four years in office, but if routinely took a back seat to other issues.
Buttigieg often faulted the administration for failing to do anything on infrastructure, writing in his plan on the issue that the Republican President's team was "incapable of keeping its promise to pass major infrastructure legislation, and critical projects around the country are stalled because of it."
Buttigieg emerged as the leading candidate for the transportation secretary role in recent days. The former mayor was considered for a host of other posts, including US ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary.
Other Democrats were also considered for the post, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.
While Pete wouldn't be my first choice for the job, it's not my call to make, and it's not like Elaine Chao cared about anything other than lining her own pockets (and that of her husband, Mitch McConnell).
Besides, the other candidates, Gina Raimondo, Eric Garcetti, and especially Rahm Emanuel, all were train wrecks who would have been far worse. Raimondo has had multiple ethics problems with unions and casinos as Rhode Island's governor, Garcetti, LA's mayor, has a serious issue with the fact his top aide is a serial sexual predator, and Rahm...well..Rahm should never be anywhere near a Biden administration except if he buys a ticket to an event, and even then he should be tossed out on his ass.
Mayor Pete is actually the best pick of a truly meh bunch.
Meanwhile, Biden's doing a much better job with former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as his choice for Energy Secretary, and Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Interior Secretary.
U.S. Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico appears to be President-elect Joe Biden’s top choice to head the Interior Department, three informed sources said, a pick that would make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency.
The position would give her authority over a department that employs more than 70,000 people across the United States and oversees more than 20% of the nation’s surface, including tribal lands and national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.
She has told Reuters she would seek to usher in an expansion of renewable energy production on federal land to contribute to the fight against climate change, and undo President Donald Trump’s focus on bolstering fossil fuels output.
Two of the sources familiar with the proceedings said Biden’s team was close to finalizing the decision on Haaland but weighing concerns about the loss of a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Democrats are hanging on to a slim majority. The third source said the decision was made and that an announcement was imminent.
Biden is also in the process of finalizing other key energy and environment picks, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator and Secretary of Energy - all of which will be crucial to his sweeping climate change agenda.
Two sources said Biden currently favors Jennifer Granholm to run the Department of Energy. Granholm, 61, was Michigan’s first female governor and pushed for a transition to green technologies in the longtime car-manufacturing state.
Both Haaland and Granholm are excellent choices.
And then there's...Pete. I guess.