President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate former Democratic primary opponent Pete Buttigieg as his transportation secretary on Wednesday, The Associated Press reports.
Biden touted the former South Bend, Indiana mayor as a “new voice, with new ideas determined to move past old politics."
Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Cabinet appointee if he is confirmed by the Senate.
"We need someone who knows how to work with state, local, and federal agencies," Biden said, touting Buttigieg’s experience in the US Navy reserve intelligence office.
Buttigieg endorsed Biden ahead of the pivotal South Carolina primary after an up-and-down campaign in which he tried to bridge the gap between moderates and progressives.
LGBTQ groups hailed the appointment as "a new milestone in a decades-long effort"
But South Bend’s Black Lives Matter chapter, which criticized his handling of police and housing issues, slammed the pick.
"We saw Black communities have their houses torn down by his administration," BLM's South Bend leader Jorden Giger said in a statement. "We saw the machinery of his police turned against Black people."
Jennifer Granholm at Energy:
Biden is also expected to pick former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as his energy secretary, according to Politico.
Granholm has extensive experience with the auto industry, which could come into play as Biden pushes to expand electric vehicles and charging stations across the country.
But the position is much larger than that. The energy secretary oversees the country’s nuclear arsenal, 17 national labs, and grant programs for renewable energy. It’s also tasked with reducing emissions and setting energy standards.
“[T]he private sector needs greater support and political will from our policymakers to help us fully realize the potential of a zero-carbon future,” Granholm wrote in an op-ed last month. “The economics are clear: The time for a low-carbon recovery is now.”
Granholm pushed for the job, as she had done during Hillary Clinton’s ultimately unsuccessful 2016 run.
Granholm beat out former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and DOE Undersecretary Arun Majumdar.
Gina McCarthy climate czar:
Biden will also name former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy as his White House climate czar, according to CNN.
McCarthy, who heads the Natural Resources Defense Council, will head the newly-created Office of Domestic Climate Policy.
Ali Zaidi, New York’s deputy secretary of energy and environment, will serve as her deputy.
Biden already named former Secretary of State John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for climate.
McCarthy worked her way up in Obama’s EPA after serving as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
She has spent decades working on environmental issues.