Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Pete Buttigieg to be transportation secretary, making history as the first openly gay U.S. Cabinet secretary.
The full Senate voted 86-13 to approve President Joe Biden's pick and former rival during the 2020 Democratic primary.
"I'm honored and humbled by today's vote in the Senate -- and ready to get to work," Buttigieg wrote on Twitter.
Prior to launching his 2020 presidential campaign, Buttigieg, 39, served as the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and served in Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Prior to becoming mayor, he was a consultant for the Chicago office of McKinsey and Company where he worked on energy, retail, economic development and logistics for three years.
Buttigieg is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University, which he attended on a Rhodes Scholarship.
Buttigieg, who is married to Chasten Buttigieg, a high school teacher, came out as gay in a 2015 essay for the South Bend Tribune while serving as mayor, and won re-election later that year.
During his confirmation hearing, Buttigieg defended the Biden administration's decision to halt the Keystone XL pipeline. The controversial pipeline, which would deliver some 830,000 barrels of crude tar sand oil a day from the Canadian city of Hardisty, Alberta, to Steel City, Neb., had been stalled by the Obama administration when Biden was vice president but it was favored by the Trump administration.
Responding to Sen. Ted Cruz's concerns that the cancellation would cost "thousands of union-paying jobs," Buttigieg touted job creation in the clean environment sector.
"We can [create jobs] while recognizing the fact that when the books are written about our careers, one of the main things we will be judged on is whether we did enough to stop the destruction of life and property due to climate change. If you and I can make common cause in our support of labor then I think that's great."
Sommer Brokaw and Darryl Coote contributed to this report.