Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg Reuters

US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Pete Buttigieg to be his transportation secretary.

Biden wrote on Twitter that Buttigieg is “a leader, patriot, and problem-solver. He speaks to the best of who we are as a nation.”

“I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because he's equipped to take on the challenges at the intersection of jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate,” added Biden.

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.

The former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, emerged as the leading candidate for the transportation secretary role in recent days. He had been considered for a host of other posts, including US ambassador to the United Nations and commerce secretary, according to CNN.

Buttigieg mounted a stout presidential campaign in 2019 and 2020, despite starting with very little national recognition or political experience.

While Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa caucuses and came in a close second in New Hampshire, his campaign subsequently struggled to nationalize its operation. He ended his campaign shortly before Super Tuesday in March.

Buttigieg was critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at times. Last April, he called Netanyahu’s pledge to annex Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, calling it a “provocation”.

In June, Buttigieg warned that if Netanyahu carries out his plan to annex communities in Judea and Samaria, he would if elected ensure no US taxpayer funds support the move.