Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is the latest member of the Biden Administration to make a trip to Alaska this summer.
The diplomacy tours with Alaskans started with First Lady Jill Biden in May, when she visited Bethel, the home turf of Rep. Mary Peltola. Sec. of Interior Deb Haaland came on that trip. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy visited Anchorage in June to focus on mental health issues.
This week, Assistant Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine is visiting Alaska, with a message of LGBTQ health and the “Summer of Pride,” as announced earlier by his office. No member of the Alaska delegation has signed on to accompany Levine, whose first stop was at the organization most responsible for gender transitioning of children in Alaska — Identity Inc.
Next week, Buttigieg is up for a visit. It’s on the “Investing in America” tour that the Biden Administration cabinet is doing this summer to tout government spending.
Buttigieg in 2020 held a fundraiser for Senate challenger Dr. Alan Gross, who tried to unseat Sen. Dan Sullivan, unsuccessfully but also by using brute force politics. But all is forgiven — Sullivan will accompany Buttigieg to Kotzebue on Monday, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski will tour him around Juneau on Wednesday. Tuesday is reserved for Anchorage.
Rep. Mary Peltola will not be part of the Buttigieg visit; she is believed to be out of the country for August recess.
Buttigieg was the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which is when he announced that he is homosexual. A Democrat, he then was the first openly gay major presidential candidate. Buttigieg rose to become an early contender in 2020 but was never able to forge a broad base in the Democratic primary, dropping out in March 2020 and throwing his support to Biden. Unlike Assistant Sec. Levine, he does not make his own sexuality the main focus of his work as the head of the nation’s roads, bridges, tracks and tarmacs. As with most of the Biden Administration, however, Buttigieg focuses a lot of his message on diversity, equity, inclusion, and climate change.