CDR Meets with newly sworn in Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg as part of Co-chairing the Transportation Equity Caucus with PolicyLink

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Dara Baldwin

On February 3, 2021 Madam Vice President Kamala Harris performed the swearing in ceremony for Pete Buttigieg to become the 19th Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, and the first openly gay Cabinet member in US history. Center for Disability Rights (CDR) joins many transportation activists in congratulating the new Secretary on his position. Transportation is the foundation of civil rights in this country, and one of the important services needed for people with disabilities to live independent lives. CDR has been involved in federal transportation policy for years.

CDR has been a Co-Chair with PolicyLink of the Transportation Equity Caucus for the past three years. The Transportation Equity Caucus is a diverse coalition of organizations promoting policies that ensure access, mobility, and opportunity for all. Moving forward together, we are charting a new course for our nation through transportation investments that ensure that everyone can participate and prosper. The work of the caucus includes working with both Congress and the Administration.

It is in that capacity that CDR and PolicyLink were invited to talk with Secretary Pete Buttigieg on his first full day in the office. We are excited to have the opportunity to speak with him about our work and framing that work in transportation policy through equity and centering Black Indigenous People of Color. These are new times in policy work in Washington, DC and President Biden’s Administration has promised to include conversations and center working with communities who have been historically marginalized.

Michael McAfee President of PolicyLink, Bruce Darling President and CEO of CDR, Axel Santana and Dara Baldwin Co-Chairs of the Transportation Equity Caucus joined an informative conversation with Secretary Buttigieg. We discussed the work of the caucus and how we can work with him and his staff at US DOT to create policy and programs centered in equity. There is much work to be done to create safe, affordable and accessible transportation for people with disabilities.

We remain in the midst of a deadly pandemic where public transportation is another part of life for those with disabilities to be exposed to infection of COVID19 as this is the most used form of mobility for the community. We informed the Secretary of our desire to work with all to bring an end to this pandemic. It was an honor to be asked to join Secretary Buttigieg in this imperative conversation. He was serious, insightful, curious, honest and clear about what he wishes to accomplish in this important position. During his confirmation hearing, the Secretary asserted the importance of transportation in every person’s life. His is committed to implementing President Biden’s Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government  in the work. CDR and PolicyLink look forward to our continue work in the Transportation Equity Caucus and working with Secretary Buttigieg in the coming years.

For more information on the this work please contact Dara Baldwin, Director of National Policy for CDR at