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

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg

Chasten says he and his husband, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, are "doing fine," but notes that living in Washington is untenable for many people.

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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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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.