President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that he is nominating his former rival Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation. He also intends to choose former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as his energy secretary, according to four people familiar with the plans.

Buttigieg would be the first openly gay person confirmed by the Senate to a Cabinet post. At 38, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would also add a youthful dynamic to an incoming administration that is so far dominated in large part by leaders with decades of Washington experience.

The announcement, however, means the chances for Mayor Eric Garcetti to be part of Biden’s cabinet may have well have slimmed. Secretary of transportation was a position for which the Los Angeles mayor was widely speculated to be a contender.

Media outlets had reported that if Garcetti was to be offered a cabinet position, he mostly likely would have been selected to be either the secretary of transportation or housing and urban development, the latter of which is to be filled by Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.

Garcetti has consistently eluded questions about a possible cabinet role, saying his sole focus is on his job as mayor.Garcetti’s spokesperson declined to comment, deferring to Garcetii campaign representatives, who also did not offer a response.

Speculation over a possible cabinet role resulted in demonstrations for the past 22 days outside Getty House, Garcetti’s official residence, by activists who are critical of his handling of such issues as reducing homelessness, police reform and public transportation in his current role.

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, which organized the protests with support from Ground Game LA, vowed to conduct a demonstration every day until Biden commits to not appointing Garcetti to his cabinet.

Protesters were swift to take credit Tuesday for blocking the potential appointment, and celebrated the news of Buttigieg’s choice.

“Eric Garcetti is not going to be Secretary of Transportation in @JoeBiden’s cabinet,” BLM-LA posted Tuesday on Twitter. “That means the work that @BLMLA and allies is doing is working! Eric Garcetti will not fall upwards. #BlockGarcetti.”

Garcetti previously served as a national co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign committee and he is part of a team that is putting together the president-elect’s inauguration.

Biden, meanwhile, called Buttigieg, his new transportation czar “a patriot and a problem-solver who speaks to the best of who we are as a nation.”

“I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because this position stands at the nexus of so many of the interlocking challenges and opportunities ahead of us,” Biden said, “Jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate all come together at the DOT, the site of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better.”

Granholm, 61, served as Michigan’s attorney general from 1999 to 2003 and two terms as Michigan’s first female governor, from 2003 to 2010. She was a supporter of Biden’s presidential bid and has spoken out against President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election results, accusing him of “poisoning democracy.”

Her intended nomination was confirmed by two people who were familiar with her selection. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly before the president-elect’s announcement.

Biden is steadily rolling out his choices for Cabinet secretaries, having already selected former Obama adviser Tony Blinken as his secretary of state, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin as his secretary of defense and former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as his treasury secretary. He’s also picked former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reprise that role in the Biden administration, and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge to serve as housing secretary.

Buttigieg became a leading figure in national politics when he was among those who challenged Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. Initially written off as the leader of a relatively small town competing against far more established figures, Buttigieg zeroed in on a message of generational change to finish the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses in a virtual tie with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

His campaign stumbled, however, in appealing to Black voters who play a critical role in Democratic politics. As the primary moved into more diverse states such as South Carolina, Buttigieg faltered and quickly withdrew from the race. His backing of Biden ushered in a remarkably swift unification of the party around its ultimate nominee.

As for Granholm, as energy secretary she will have a role in executing Biden’s promised $2 trillion climate plan, billed as the nation’s broadest and most ambitious effort to cut fossil fuel emissions that are dangerously warming Earth’s atmosphere.

Biden’s plan includes overhauling the nation’s transportation and power sectors and buildings to eliminate fossil fuel emissions by 2050. Biden says he will return the United States to the Paris climate accord as a first step after President Donald Trump yanked the country out of the global climate effort.

Staff writer Elizabeth Chou, City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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