Gus Kenworthy
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Long Way From South Bend: Chasten Buttigieg on Living in Costly D.C.

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg

You know there’s a lack of affordable housing in major cities when a Cabinet secretary’s spouse talks about the rent squeeze in Washington, D.C.

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, addressed the subject in a profile published Monday in The Washington Post. The Buttigiegs live in a one-bedroom apartment in an upscale building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where their rent comes out to about $3,000 a month because they signed a long-term lease that gave them a couple months free.

“We couldn’t afford the one-bedroom-plus-den,” Chasten Buttigieg said. And that’s on the Transportation secretary’s annual salary of $221,400. Monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in the building are $5,650 and up.

“We’re doing fine for ourselves, and [yet] the city is almost unaffordable,” he told the Post. “Which tells you how extremely unaffordable it is for many people.” They chose the building because of its location and security; they’ve received threats, and their home in South Bend, Ind., where Pete Buttigieg was mayor, had been broken into. They have sold the South Bend house but have bought one in Chasten’s hometown of Traverse City, Mich., where his parents still live.

Chasten, who was a middle school drama teacher back in Indiana, is weighing his job options in D.C. He doesn’t think teaching in K-12 schools is an option, given Pete’s high-profile job and the possibility of bad publicity if there’s a disagreement with a parent. But he might consider teaching at the college level, like Dr. Jill Biden, the first lady.

In the profile, he also talks about finding his role in Washington, a city where it seems every casual acquaintance wants something from you; Pete’s preparation for a Half Ironman triathlon; and the couple’s efforts to adopt a child. The full story is here.

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