Join Basil Smikle Jr. and the Hon. Steve Israel for a special moderated discussion on federal transportation policy with Hon. Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Among its many responsibilities, the Department of Transportation strives to serve the American people by prioritizing the role that transportation plays in the solution to the climate crisis. It invests funds to improve our transportation infrastructure, ensuring that American workers and businesses have dependable and effective connections to essential resources, markets, and well-paying employment opportunities.


Hon. Pete Buttigieg serves as the 19th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, having been sworn in on February 3, 2021. His focus as Secretary is to deliver the world’s leading transportation system for the American people and economy. He has worked to achieve organizational excellence in the department’s operations, and to focus the department on five policy goals: safety, jobs, equity, climate, and innovation. In his first year at the Department, he prioritized supporting the development and passage of President Biden’s signature Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Since its passage, Secretary Buttigieg and his team have focused on effectively delivering the investments provided by this legislation, making the most significant improvements in U.S. transportation infrastructure in over half a century. The first openly gay person to serve in a president’s Cabinet, Secretary Buttigieg previously served two terms as mayor of his home town, South Bend, Indiana, where he worked across the aisle to transform the city’s future. His work on transportation as mayor was nationally recognized. Secretary Buttigieg was a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2020.

Hon. Steve Israel served in the U.S. Congress from 2001 to 2017, including four years as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (2011–2015). In Congress, he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. He founded the House Center Aisle Caucus and was recognized as a leader on national security issues and the Middle East. He left Washington to pursue new passions. He is the director of the nonpartisan Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at the Jeb S. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University, which serves as a platform for civic engagement and bipartisan dialogue. He has published two critically acclaimed satires of Washington: The Global War on Morris (2014) and Big Guns (2018). Israel’s commentary has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives with his wife Cara in Oyster Bay, Long Island, where he owns an independent bookshop.

Dr. Basil A. Smikle Jr., is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Previously, was appointed by former Governor David Paterson to serve as the Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential cycle where he was the “second highest ranking Democrat” in the State. He holds a PhD in Politics and Education and an MPA from Columbia University and received a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He is a frequent on-screen public affairs commentator for CNN and MSNBC.

A Conversation on Federal Transportation Policy with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg | Posted on November 2nd, 2023 | Public Policy Program Events