Secretary Pete Buttigieg is back to work.
Buttigieg, who made history as the first out gay U.S. Cabinet member to be confirmed by the Senate, is diving in head-first a month after the birth of his twins with husband Chasten. In a new interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, the groundbreaking staffer laid out what is ahead of him, including the importance of passing Biden's stand=alone $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill as well as the greater Build Back Better plan. In addition, he spoke about what his team is doing to help with supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by the ongoing global pandemic — which has pushed online ordering and shipping to record levels — and the labor shortage that has come as a result.
"This is a major challenge and this is something that's been a major priority for the White House, certainly for our department," Buttigieg said of the issues. "It's why the White House set up [the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force]. What we're looking at is basically everything between those ships and your shelves and everything that gets things where they need to be."
Buttigieg said the process heavily relies on infrastructure but also coordinating with the multiple private sector parties that are involved and getting everyone on the same page. The task force has been convening multiple parties involved in the process for roundtable conversations to find out and learn issues. One in particular is that for large-truck drivers, the rate of turnover is around 90 percent, according to Buttigieg.
In the meantime, consumers are being asked to plan ahead, and possibly do their Christmas shopping now as a result of the bottlenecks.
But before the segment was over, Buttigieg was asked about the biggest surprise of newfound fatherhood. He and Chasten announced the birth of their twins, Penelope and Joseph, in early September.
"It's been wonderful. It's everything people tell you to expect and more," he said. "I think the biggest thing that's surprised me is just how much joy there is even sometimes in the hard parts. Don't get me wrong, it's the most demanding thing I've ever done, that Chasten and I have ever taken on but it's just amazing. I used to think of 5 a.m. as early, and now I think of it as naptime if I'm lucky, and yet I catch myself grinning half the time."
Buttigieg's historic run as president is the center of the Mayor Pete documentary which will have its world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14. On October 15 it will screen at NewFest. It will release widely on Amazon Prime Video on November 12.