The former South Bend mayor could be moving to D.C.
Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg could soon lead the US Department of Transportation if president-elect Joe Biden has his way. Various media outlets are reporting that Biden has selected Buttigieg to lead the department. It oversees 11 federal agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The reports, including Automotive News, have cited “people familiar with the matter” as the source of the news. However, so far, neither Biden nor Buttigieg has commented on the matter. Buttigieg stepped into the national spotlight during his bid to top the Democratic ticket for the 2020 election, vying for the presidential nomination against Biden in the primary. However, Buttigieg, who had been rumored to be under consideration for several cabinet positions, will have to face Senate confirmation before stepping into the role.
This will be Buttigieg’s first federal office, though he’s no stranger to working for the federal government. In 2009, Buttigieg joined the US Navy Reserves before a seven-month leave from being mayor to deploy to Afghanistan. There, he identified and disrupted terrorist finance networks and served as an armed driver for his commander. He resigned in 2017. If confirmed for the role by the Senate, Buttigieg would become the first LGBTQ cabinet secretary.
Buttigieg could be in a position to alter the automotive landscape in the US. The next decade will see more electric cars and cars with semi-autonomous driving functions. The NHTSA alone oversees enforcing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The FMVSS is one reason the Cadillac XT6 isn’t available with the adaptive driving beam headlights. They are illegal under the current FMVSS, limiting the lighting technology available in US cars. However, the other 10 federal agencies will likely consume a large portion of Buttigieg’s job.