WASHINGTON – Pete Buttigieg, who was sworn in as Transportation Secretary Wednesday, February 3rd, urged his 55,000 employees to engage in “resourceful, courageous, and forward-thinking” while the Transportation division undertakes an important mission to rebuild and rebuild America’s infrastructure Promotion of equality takes up.

“We will continue to prioritize security as the foundation of everything we do,” Buttigieg said in his email message received from The Associated Press. “At the same time, we will be breaking new ground: we have to make sure that our economy recovers and rebuilds, we face the challenge of the climate and make sure that transport is an engine for justice in this country.”

He added that the department’s mission “has never been more important than in this era of change and opportunity”.

In a broader video message he tweeted to the American public, Buttigieg highlighted both the challenges and the opportunities that will arise in improving the American transportation system.

“Today we face an unprecedented health crisis, we control an economy in danger, and our nation is anticipating the effects of systemic racism,” he said in the one-minute campaign-style video. “But with the new leadership comes a new chance, a chance to rebuild our transport system better than ever before.

“There is so much to do, but I am deeply optimistic about where this journey will lead,” he said.

Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and a former Democratic presidential candidate, was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris in a ceremony held in the old executive office building within the White House complex on February 3. Buttigieg, the first openly gay person to be confirmed in a cabinet post, took the oath on a Bible that belonged to his mother and was kept by his husband, Chasten.

He was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, February 2, with a vote of 86-13. This made him Biden’s second Democratic rival to have a seat in the administration, with Harris being the first.

Hailed by Biden as the “new voice” for administration, Buttigieg has pledged to get to work quickly to promote safety and restore consumer confidence in American transportation networks, including airlines, buses, and subway systems and Amtrak roles no longer work due to declining driver numbers in the coronavirus pandemic. He is also expected to play a key role in promoting Biden’s green initiatives and to support the president’s push later this year on a $ 2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan that will rebuild roads and Provides for bridges and the expansion of emission-free local transport while at the same time improving the infrastructure for electric vehicles.

In his email to employees on Wednesday, February 3, Buttigieg said he will be spending the next few weeks on a virtual listening tour with employees and looks forward to realizing Biden’s vision of a prosperous America “in partnership with all of you.” .

He said he will work to “ensure that everyone here feels that the department is a place of belonging and welcoming every day – and that together we create a supportive, resourceful, courageous, forward-looking and friendly work environment.”

Describing himself and his enthusiasm for transportation, Buttigieg told staff how he loved travel and adventure as a kid. His bedroom was decorated with a Lego monorail, a wooden ship his grandfather had bought as a merchant marine, and small model airplanes his father had taken home from business trips.

“I know that transportation, at best, enables the American dream of getting people and goods to where they need to be – and directly and indirectly creating high-paying jobs,” he said. “We must also recognize that at worst, misdirected policies and missed opportunities can exacerbate racial and economic inequality, divide or isolate neighborhoods, and undermine the fundamental role of government in enabling Americans to thrive.

“The legacy of American transportation can be both weighty and inspiring – and its future is of fundamental national importance,” Buttigieg told staff. “To everything that lies ahead of us.”

By Hope Yen, The Associated Press