On February 3, Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as the 19th Secretary of Transportation.
Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Buttigieg served two terms as mayor of his hometown of South Bend, Indiana. A graduate of Harvard University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Buttigieg served for seven years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, taking a leave of absence from the mayor's office for a deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.
During his nomination hearing for the leadership post of the Department of Transportation, Buttigieg voiced his support for the Jones Act and the American maritime transportation sector.
Appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on January 21 as U.S. Transportation Secretary Designee, Buttigieg stated: "Yes, I share your support for the Jones Act."
He was responding to a question from Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) regarding the nation's freight cabotage law.
"Sometimes it gets under attack, but I want to just hear that you support the Jones Act," Sen. Cantwell said.
Buttigieg stated: "It is so important to the maritime industry that it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as a shipbuilding industry here in the U.S."
Prior to his confirmation, Secretary Buttigieg received a strong endorsement from USA Maritime, a coalition of which American Maritime Officers and American Maritime Officers Service are members. In a letter sent to Senators Cantwell and Roger Wicker (R-MS) - Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation - USA Maritime wrote:
"On behalf of the undersigned United States-flag shipping companies, American maritime labor organizations and related maritime associations belonging to the USA Maritime Coalition, I am writing to convey our support for the nomination of Secretary of Transportation-designee Mayor Pete Buttigieg to serve as Secretary of Transportation.
"The challenges facing United States-flag shipping companies are significant, ranging from the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic on our ability to support America's economic and military security to the increasing threat posed by the aggressive competition from the People's Republic of China as it expands its maritime presence throughout the world. These challenges require immediate and meaningful responses from our government and call for a Secretary of Transportation who will reflect President Biden's position that the 'U.S.-flag merchant marine and the men and women who operate U.S.-flag ships are crucial to America's national security, our international trade relationships, and economic development.'
"We urge your Committee to move favorably on his nomination and we call on the Senate to quickly confirm Mayor Pete Buttigieg's nomination as Secretary of Transportation."