June 16, 2021

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Pete Buttigieg Responds to Criticisms of Transportation Secretary Role

Though U.S..Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has made a lot of history, it hasn’t been without a lot of pushback. In his run for the presidential nomination he received a lot of criticism — here at Out we often took him to task on policy related issues. Elsewhere, mostly in mainstream media that often got characterized as queer media, he suffered “not gay enough accusations.” When he ended his run for the nomination and transitioned into working on Joe Biden’s campaign, later being nominated for a Cabinet position he was also criticized: some questioned his qualifications for the role pointing to his age and the fact that he was only the mayor of a small city. Now, Buttigieg has responded to his critics.

“The great thing about public service is that you have an opportunity to deliver,” Buttigieg explained to Savannah Sellers on NBC News. “If you do a good job, nobody cares how old you are, nobody cares if you’re gay, nobody cares about anything in your life so much as you’re making their lives better.” Some had said that Buttigieg’s nomination and confirmation was but virtue signaling identity politics — in addition to being the first out Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, Buttigieg is the youngest member of Biden’s Cabinet. But as Buttigieg points out, the proof of his abilities will be in what happens with his plans to rebuild a crumbing infrastructure and make electric vehicles safe, affordable, and practical.

“This is the moment, I think, to prepare us for the 2020s,” he said referring to growing technologies in the transportation space. “And really to prepare us for the rest of our lives by getting it right with a once-in-a-lifetime historic investment in American infrastructure.”

Buttigieg said he sees two areas of concern regarding the widespread use of electric vehicles. The first issue is the overall cost involved for the consumer, but also the availability of charging stations across the country.

“You’re not going to want to take long trips in an electric vehicle if you don’t know that there are charging stations along the way,” he explained. “It’s why the president’s commitment to create another half-million charging stations across the country is so important.”

Buttigieg made history when he became the first out person to be confirmed by the Senate for a cabinet position. He noted how he could “feel the history swirling about” as he was sworn into office by Vice President Kamala Harris with husband Chasten at his side. And while many are asking whether he will eventually make another run for the White House, he said he remains focused on 2021 and the “opportunity to reinvent the sector in a more fair and equitable way” for all Americans.

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