Chasten Buttigieg says he and Pete couldn’t afford more than a 1-bedroom apartment in DC

chasten pete buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg, right, nominee to be Transportation secretary, and his husband Chasten, attend the inauguration before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

  • Chasten Buttigieg told The Washington Post that DC is “almost unaffordable.”
  • “We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten told The Post.
  • Chasten moved to the city with his husband Pete six months ago.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chasten Buttigieg is still adjusting to his new life in the nation’s capital, but one thing has become clear to him: The city is too expensive.

That’s what he told The Washington Post in an profile published Monday. The former middle school drama teacher moved from South Bend, Indiana to Washington, DC in January for his husband Pete Buttigieg’s new job as President Joe Biden’s transportation secretary.

One of the couple’s “favorite” pastimes is scrolling through real estate website Zillow, trying to guess the prices of properties in DC and then being blown away by the actual cost.

“We’re doing fine for ourselves, and [yet] the city is almost unaffordable,” Chasten told The Post. “Which tells you how extremely unaffordable it is for many people.”

The couple resides in a high-end 800-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, The Post reported. They secured a longer lease for $3,000, with two months rent-free, according to the outlet.

“We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten told The Post. Available two-bedrooms in the luxury building currently start at $5,650, according to The Post. The Buttigieges decided on the place because of the security provided and its location, the outlet reported.

The transportation secretary brings in $221,400 annually, according to US Office of Personnel Management. That’s more than double the average salary in the city, which is $77,000, per Payscale.com.

Average rent in Washington, DC is $2,126, according to RentCafe, two times the average rent in South Bend. The Buttigieges sold their home there earlier this year and purchased a property on Lake Michigan, in Traverse City, where Chasten is from, and where “people who remind me of, like, me,” he told The Post.

Chasten was thrust into the national spotlight during the 2020 campaign, when his husband Pete, the first openly gay major presidential candidate, was running for the Democratic nomination. Since then, he said Pete has adapted to the Washington-insider lifestyle quite seamlessly. But being his high-profile spouse has been somewhat of a struggle, Chasten said.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘I’m done. I’m taking a break. I can’t be everything for everybody all the time,’ ” Chasten told The Post.

Still, Chasten said that he’s finding spots in DC where he fits in, such as Mr. Henry’s, a pub in his neighborhood.

“I see the charm in it,” Chasten said of DC. “I know there are people who are very in love with the city.”

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Buttigieg defends mask mandates on public transportation as a matter of ‘safety’ and ‘respect’

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

  • Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday described public transit mask mandates as a “matter of respect.”
  • There has been an increase in the number of disturbances on airplanes in recent weeks.
  • Buttigieg asked for people to think about what transit workers “have been doing to keep you safe.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday backed the mask mandates still in effect on airplanes and public transit as a “matter of respect,” in the wake of recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggest that fully vaccinated travelers can forgo face coverings in many public spaces.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” host Martha Raddatz pressed Buttigieg about the continued need for mask regulations on public transit, despite many fully vaccinated Americans dining out and returning to their fitness routines at gyms without face coverings.

“Well, some of the differences have to do with the physical space, some of them have to do with it being a workplace where in some of these transit and travel situations, people don’t have a choice,” he said. “It’s a matter of safety, but it’s also a matter of respect.”

Raddatz also asked Buttigieg about the increase in violent disturbances and verbal assaults on airplanes, which have prompted some airlines to temporarily halt their alcoholic beverage offerings.

Read more: Exclusive: Secretary Pete takes viewers inside the DOT in the Biden administration’s weekly address as he sells the American Jobs Plan

Buttigieg asked for the public to be courteous toward transportation workers, many of whom worked through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Remember what they have been through, what they have been doing to keep you safe and make sure to show some appreciation and respect to everybody from a bus driver, operator to a flight attendant to a captain,” he said. “They have been on the frontlines of this pandemic. Their jobs have been in doubt. They are here for your safety.”

Buttigieg also noted that while 2021 Memorial Day weekend traffic is dramatically higher than last year, it would still take a while for the transportation system to ease back to pre-pandemic levels.

“As people return, we are coming out of one of the biggest shocks – perhaps the biggest shock – that the American transportation system has ever seen in terms of demands, schedules, all of these things changing and so the system is getting back into gear,” he said.

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Biden will create a task force to support strengthening unions and their membership

Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • President Joe Biden is creating a task force to strengthen unions and their membership.
  • The task force will look into existing and new policies to strengthen worker power.
  • The rate of unionization has fallen in the past 40 years, and Amazon workers recently led a failed union drive.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is creating a task force to help promote and strengthen union membership through an executive order today.

According to the White House, the task force – which will be chaired by Vice President Kamala Harris, with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh serving as vice chair – will focus on helping to bolster union membership and worker organizing and bargaining.

The task force will examine both existing policies and the need for new ones, and report back recommendations within 180 days. The group will also include Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

“Since 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted, the policy of the federal government has been to encourage worker organizing and collective bargaining, not to merely allow or tolerate them,” the White House release said. “In the 86 years since the Act was passed, the federal government has never fully implemented this policy.”

The main focuses of the task force include setting up the federal government as a “model employer,” helping to bolster worker organizing – especially by increasing power for marginalized workers, and those in industries where organizing is difficult – as well as generally upping the number of workers in unions.

Union membership has fallen

A report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-leaning think tank, found that the number of workers who are represented by a union declined by 444,000 from 2019 to 2020.

However, the rate of unionization – the share of workers represented by one – actually increased in 2020, to 12.1% from 11.6%. The report attributes that to the power that unions give their workers, potentially resulting in those unionized workers having more of a say in how their workplaces functioned during the pandemic and its economic impact. And industries that are less unionized – the report cites leisure and hospitality – also saw the most job losses.

On the whole, according to EPI, the unionization rate is highest for Black workers, coming in at 13.9%. Throughout the pandemic, both that rate and the number of Black workers represented by a union increased.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that “Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 84 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($958 versus $1,144).”

However, in a historical context, unionization rates are still very low. EPI said 2020’s rate is still below half of what it was 40 years ago. Amazon workers had a recent high-profile union loss, as workers in a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse voted against forming a union. That unit would’ve been the first union for the company.

“Amazon didn’t win – our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union,” the company said in a statement after the vote, over which the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) has filed official objections.

But with Biden’s task force, union membership could see a boost. The president has also backed a labor-rights bill called the PRO Act.

“As America works to recover from the devastating challenges of deadly pandemic, an economic crisis, and reckoning on race that reveals deep disparities, we need to summon a new wave of worker power to create an economy that works for everyone,” Biden said in a March statement on the bill.

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Secretary Pete on Biden’s remark that his infrastructure plan will create 19 million jobs – it’s more like 2.7 million

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

    • President Joe Biden said April 2 that his new infrastructure package could create 19 million jobs.
    • Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that it will probably directly create 2.7 million jobs.
    • The stat came from a Moody’s report projecting 16.3 million jobs from natural growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus.

President Joe Biden said on April 2 that his new American Jobs Plan – the first of a two-part package – could lead to the creation of 19 million new jobs.

But Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg clarified on Sunday that the plan would create 2.7 million jobs – not 19 million.

In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Buttigieg said he and the Biden administration “should have been more precise” when saying that the infrastructure plan would create 19 million new jobs, given that the economy was already on track to add millions of new jobs from natural job growth and the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“It will create 2.7 million more jobs than if we don’t do it, and that’s very important because there are people on this network and others saying with a straight face that this would somehow reduce the number of jobs,” Buttigieg said.

According to Bloomberg, Biden seemed to be citing a recent Moody’s Analytics report that projects 19 million jobs could be added over the next decade if the infrastructure plan passes; however, it also estimates that 16.3 million jobs would be added over the next decade from a combination of organic job growth jobs and the already-passed American Rescue Plan.

In his remarks, Biden also said that almost 90% of the infrastructure jobs could be filled by people without a college degree.

A March analysis from Morning Consult found that, during the coronavirus pandemic, more educated Americans saw their confidence rebound and grow. The same could not be said for lower-wage, less-educated workers, who feared for their ability to hold onto a job. Higher-educated Americans felt confident enough to ask for pay increases, the analysis showed.

Biden’s remarks were tied to the prior jobs report, which saw the economy add 916,000 jobs, far outpacing economists’ expectations of 660,000.

While different unemployment measures dropped amidst the good jobs news, the country still has a long way to go before returning to pre-pandemic levels. In a blog post, Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, said there were still 8.4 million fewer jobs in March 2021 than in February 2020.

Insider’s Andy Kiersz wrote that, if the March growth rate continues, employment could reach pre-pandemic levels by January 2022. Areas like movie theaters and hotels still have a long way to go, as they continue to lag in recovery.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg backs Biden’s infrastructure bill, says ‘we’re still coasting on infrastructure choices’ from the 1950s

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a press conference in February.

  • Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg is helping rally support for Biden’s infrastructure plan.
  • Buttigieg said on Sunday the American Jobs Plan represented “a generational investment.”
  • The plan aims for upgrades in everything from roads and bridges to public schools and airports.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday promoted President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, making the case that the legislation would be transformational for the country.

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Buttigieg said the American Jobs Plan represented “a generational investment” that would produce “economic growth that’s going to go on for years and years.”

“Infrastructure is the foundation that makes it possible for Americans to thrive,” he said. “And what we know is that foundation has been crumbling.

Buttigieg made the argument that the current transportation network, built up decades ago, has to meet the needs of a modern society.

“We’re still coasting on infrastructure choices that were made in the 1950s,” he said. “Now’s our chance to make infrastructure choices for the future that are going to serve us well in the 2030s and onto the middle of the century when we will be judged for whether we meet this moment here in the 2020s.”

Biden’s massive plan includes $621 billion in transportation infrastructure investments, with direct funding for road and bridge repairs, improvements in Amtrak passenger train service, lead pipe repairs, port and airport funding, and public school improvements, among other long-awaited projects.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is seeking to have a bill passed sometime in July, but the legislation’s fate also rests in the hands of the Senate, which the party only narrowly controls.

While Biden is seeking Republican input on the bill, Democrats have not ruled out passing an infrastructure package through the reconciliation process, which would only require a party-line vote.

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

In order to pay for the plan, Biden hopes to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which congressional Republicans vehemently oppose.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky last week said that in its current form, Biden’s infrastructure bill will be a hard sell for his caucus, especially if it is funded with “a combination of massive tax increases on businesses and individuals, and more borrowing.”

“I think that package they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side,” he said.

GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said on ABC’s “This Week” earlier on Sunday that a smaller infrastructure bill could be “a bipartisan, easy win” for the president.

“The other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn’t have very much to do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you can still do that,” he added.

Buttigieg, along with Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge, Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo, and Labor secretary Marty Walsh, have been tasked with helping rally support behind the plan.

Buttigieg emphasized during the Sunday interview that Biden’s plan would not only repair aging US transportation networks, but would strengthen the country’s economic standing and position it as a leader on climate change.

“America will be much more economically competitive, we’ll be stronger in terms of leading the world because of the research and development investments that are here, and we will be on track to avoid climate disaster because of the provisions for things like electric vehicles,” he said.

He added: “Those electric vehicles that more and more people around the world are driving will be increasingly made in America by union workers. This is what you get for planning for the long term.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A major Texas highway expansion project has been paused to examine possible violation of 1964 Civil Rights Act

Houston
People drive on Interstate 45 toward downtown Houston.

  • The Department of Transportation has paused a Houston-area highway widening project.
  • In the past, highways were constructed with no regard for minority communities.
  • The Biden administration is seeking to address past racial inequities in planning decisions.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Department of Transportation is using a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to pause construction on a highway widening project near Houston, an uncommon move that could be an early test of President Joe Biden’s commitment to addressing past racial inequities, according to Politico.

As the populous region continues to grow, the Interstate 45 highway project has been heralded as a way to reduce congestion and improve commute times, but the additional lanes would also impact several heavily Black and Latino neighborhoods, forcing residents, businesses, and houses of worship in the path to relocate.

The construction plan, known as the North Houston Highway Improvement Project, would widen the highway into three segments.

Local resistance to the I-45 project had been brewing for years, with many hearkening back to the 1950s when freeway routes were deliberately drawn to impact Black communities and divide people by race and class.

The I-45 project has at least been temporarily halted, with Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg now at the helm of the sprawling federal department.

Federal transportation authorities in March sent a letter asking Texas to pause contracts on the widening project while they reviewed racial justice complaints covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, along with environmental concerns.

The provision states that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

In a letter written to the Texas Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration cited community opposition in reviewing the I-45 widening project, mentioning Houston-area Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Air Alliance Houston, and the community organization Texas Housers.

“I think [Buttigieg] was engaged, interested and fair,” Jackson Lee told Politico after speaking with the secretary. “I think he was chagrined at federal dollars being used with such disregard of community views.”

The congresswoman feels that the Texas Department of Transportation “blatantly violated” the Title VI provision.

The project’s pause, which is being driven by civil rights laws, has thrilled grassroots activists and Washington figures.

Fred Wagner, an attorney and former chief counsel at the Federal Highway Administration under the Obama administration, told Politico that taking such a step was a big change.

“It just doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “For DOT to step in, potentially, and say ‘We don’t think it’s an appropriate solution,’ would be a really huge deal.”

Buttigieg, who is seeking to reimagine the country’s transportation system, also hopes to dismantle old processes that disenfranchised Americans of color from past planning conversations, especially when entire neighborhoods were destroyed by urban planners when the modern US highway network was first built in the 20th Century.

“This is not just a matter of halfway accidental neglect,” he said in a Politico interview last month. “We’re talking about some really intentional decisions that happened, and a lot of them happened with federal dollars.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Transportation Department says taxing drivers by the mile is not part of Biden’s agenda after Buttigieg said it showed ‘promise’

Pete Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg at a press conference in February.

  • The Department of Transportation clarified comments made Friday by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
  • Buttigieg on Friday said that a mileage tax to fund Biden’s infrastructure plan had “a lot of promise.”
  • But on Saturday, a spokesperson said such a tax is not part of Biden’s agenda.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The office of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Saturday said the Biden administration was not considering a plan to tax drivers by the number of miles that they drive after Buttigieg said during an interview he was open to the idea.

During a CNBC interview Friday about his goals for US infrastructure and Biden’s upcoming infrastructure plan, Buttigieg was asked about funding the president’s plan, which is expected to cost about $3 trillion. He was specifically questioned about the efficacy of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax, which would tax drivers by the number of miles they drive and is seen as an alternative to taxing gasoline.

“I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive. The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it. It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or mileage tax – whatever you want to call it – could be a way to do it.”

“You’re hearing a lot of ‘maybe’ here because all of these things need to be balanced and could be part of the mix,” he said.

Read more: Apple will never deliver a car because it can’t figure out how to work with the automakers who could make it happen

But a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation on Saturday shut down the idea after the statement went viral online in a short video clip, sparking a range of reactions and criticism online.

“The Secretary was having a broad conversation about a variety of ways to fund transportation,” Ben Halle, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation, told Insider’s Adam Wren. “To be clear, he never said that VMT was under consideration by the White House as part of this infrastructure plan- and it is not.”

Biden is expected to unveil his infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh next week. The $3 trillion proposal is expected to consist of two bills, according to a report from The New York Times. The first bill is expected to have a focus on upgrading bridges and roads while the second would focus on elements like education and childcare, according to the report.

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Secretary Pete may want to tax how much you drive to pay for Biden’s infrastructure bill

pete buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg.

  • Biden is set to unveil a $3 trillion infrastructure bill next week, but its funding is undecided.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is eyeing a mileage tax as a way to fund the bill.
  • Lawmakers have disagreed on funding, with the GOP position against any kind of tax increase.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is set to unveil a massive $3 trillion infrastructure bill next week and many lawmakers have floated various ideas on how to fund it. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has an idea: a mileage tax.

In a CNBC interview on Friday, Buttigieg discussed Biden’s upcoming proposal and said the plan will lead to a net gain for Americans, rather than a net cost, since infrastructure is “a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment.”

“That’s one of many reasons why we think this is so important,” Buttigieg said. “This is a jobs vision as much as it is an infrastructure vision, a climate vision and more.”

When it comes to funding, Buttigieg said revenue will likely come from different sources and is something that he still needs to discuss with Congress, but a mileage tax could be an effective option. Introducing that would also encourage the use of electric vehicles, which has been a goal of Biden’s since the start of his presidential campaign.

“I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive.”

Buttigieg added that Build America Bonds – Obama-era bonds financed by the federal government – could also be revived to fund the infrastructure bill.

The president is set to unveil his infrastructure proposal in Pittsburgh next week, and it could include up to $3 trillion in spending, split into separate packages for repairing crumbling infrastructure and for care-economy funding for initiatives including free community college and universal pre-K.

Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s second-ranked Republican, told reporters on Tuesday that splitting up the infrastructure bill is a “pretty cynical ploy” by Democrats to attempt to gain GOP support for certain measures.

And even some moderate Democrats have expressed concerns about passing an infrastructure bill without Republican support. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told Axios that he likely won’t support another reconciliation bill.

“I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them [Republicans] out completely before we start trying,” Manchin said.

Buttigieg on Thursday urged the House Transportation Committee to make a “generational investment” in infrastructure and combat racial inequity and climate change.

He said: “There is near-universal recognition that a broader recovery will require a national commitment to fix and transform America’s infrastructure.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senior Democrat caught on hot mic suggests bypassing Republicans on infrastructure

Ben Cardin
Sen. Ben Cardin.

  • Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin was heard suggesting reconciliation for the upcoming infrastructure bill.
  • He cited likely Republican opposition and said the bill will resemble the $1.9 trillion stimulus.
  • Conservatives and moderates have already complained about the prospect of another reconciliation bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A senior Democratic senator, Ben Cardin of Maryland, was overheard in a “hot mic” moment saying the next trillion-dollar spending bill will probably have to bypass Republicans once again.

In a moment caught by C-SPAN on Monday, the chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure was overheard telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that Democrats will likely have to use reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill, Politico first reported.

Democrats recently used reconciliation to pass the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” which President Joe Biden signed into law on Thursday. The infrastructure bill could carry an even larger price tag, and Cardin said Democrats will “most likely have to use reconciliation” to pass that one, too.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be put together similar,” Cardin told Buttigieg when speaking about the infrastructure bill. “The Republicans will be with you to a point, and then -” he tailed off, suggesting that GOP backing would taper off as Democrats assemble a large bill.

House Democrats officially began working on an infrastructure package on Friday, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying in a statement that she aims to negotiate with Republicans on the legislative details.

She said it was her hope that bipartisanship would “prevail as we address other critical needs in energy and broadband, education and housing, water systems and other priorities.”

President Joe Biden has already held infrastructure talks with bipartisan groups of lawmakers. On February 11, he met with four bipartisan senators on the topic, and in the beginning of March, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers joined the president to discuss possible funding methods.

After the latter meeting with Biden, Sam Graves, ranking member of the House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure, criticized the prospect of another party-line procedure.

The next bill “cannot be a ‘my way or the highway’ approach like last Congress,” he said, referring to previous Democratic legislation advanced under Pelosi.

“First and foremost, a highway bill cannot grow into a multitrillion-dollar catch-all bill, or it will lose Republican support,” Graves said. “We have to be responsible, and a bill whose cost is not offset will lose Republican support.”

The Biden administration is reportedly weighing tax increases on wealthy Americans and large corporations to finance at least part of its domestic spending plans. Still, some experts say a significant portion of the legislation could be deficit-financed, citing the low cost of federal borrowing and the nature of infrastructure spending as a one-off investment in the economy.

On the Democratic side of the Senate, the influential moderate Joe Manchin of West Virginia said in an “Axios on HBO” interview that Democrats need to work with Republicans on the next big spending bill.

“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin said. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them [Republicans] out completely before we start trying.”

Biden has not yet announced specific funding plans for an infrastructure bill, although his campaign platform included a $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Manchin has said he could support a bill worth up to $4 trillion, as long as it was paid for adequately.

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Pete Buttigieg brought star power to the Transportation Department. Insiders explain how he’s winning over his new staff, the White House, and Republicans.

Hello everyone!

Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

What we’re going over today:

pete buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg drinks a root beer float while talking with journalists as he walks through the Iowa State Fair August 13, 2019.

Hello!

This week was busy as ever, and we’ve got a ton of Insider deep dives to share with you today. But before we get to that, a look at what’s trending this morning:

Now, let’s get to it.


What Pete Buttigieg did next

From Adam Wren and Robin Bravender:

Rank-and-file Transportation Department employees saw their phones start blowing up the day President-elect Joe Biden announced that Pete Buttigieg was his pick to lead their agency.

One DOT staffer remembered being bombarded that December Tuesday with text messages, emails, and Facebook posts from friends who knew little about his actual job but were excited to hear that Buttigieg would be his boss. 

It’s not uncommon for political stars and former White House contenders to land in a presidential Cabinet, but they usually don’t call their new home the Transportation Department, a behemoth federal agency created during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration and whose portfolio includes pipeline safety, air-traffic control, and highway maintenance. 

Read the full story here:

Also read:


Black women CEOs and executives on their time in corporate America

Black women CEOs

From Jennifer Eum, Keishel Williams, Sawyer Click, and Taylor Tyson:

Across corporate America, the struggle to place women – especially Black women – at the helm of major companies continues. Paving the way forward are women like Thasunda Brown Duckett, who was just named CEO of retirement and investment manager TIAA. She will become only the fourth Black woman chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.

Duckett is one of 67 women featured in this collection of responses from influential Black businesswomen in America.

Insider asked these executives, from leading companies like Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, to reflect on their rise to the top, the struggle of being a Black woman in white corporate America, and the best career advice they’ve received. Their answers are raw and poignant, emotional and inspiring.

Read the full story here:

Also read:


Google’s superhuman hearing project

Wolverine
Wolverine

From Hugh Langley:

Alphabet’s moon-shots division, X, is quietly working on a top-secret augmented-reality device that would give people enhanced hearing abilities, Insider has learned.

The project, which is internally named “Wolverine,” is a nod to the comic-book mutant’s heightened sense of hearing, said four former employees familiar with the details, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The team started seriously working on the project in 2018, the sources said, and in that time it has gone through multiple prototypes and has gained the favor of executives like Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

 Read the full story here:

Also read:


Inside the downfall of Nikola founder Trevor Milton

trevor milton nikola profile 2x1

From Mark Matousek:

Trevor Milton’s star rose as Nikola raised a billion dollars in funding and assembled a blue-chip roster of partners and customers. By 2020, Milton, the serial entrepreneur who’d started four companies before Nikola and sold two of them, was being compared to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

But last June, Bloomberg was the first to report that the One prototype Milton unveiled in 2016 couldn’t drive under its own power. Three months later, Hindenburg Research, a financial-research firm that calls out companies it thinks have misbehaved, said Milton had a long history of bending the truth.

Milton denied the allegations, but they hung over him until, a little over a week later, he resigned from the company that made him a billionaire, before it delivered a single truck.

Read the full story here:

Also read:


Lastly, don’t forget to check out Morning Brew – the A.M. newsletter that makes reading the news actually enjoyable.

Here are some headlines you might have missed last week.

– Matt


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