Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) has accepted an offer to become President-elect Barack Obama’s transportation secretary and the nomination will be made official in coming days, two senior Democratic officials told The Washington Post in time for its Dec. 18 editions.
LaHood is retiring from the House of Representatives after representing a rural Illinois district in Congress since 1995. He is the second Republican to join Obama’s Cabinet. A moderate Republican, LaHood has not shied away from criticizing the Bush administration and has a reputation for working with leaders of both political parties. He will be a key player in the Obama administration’s proposed public works projects, intended to stimulate the economy.
LaHood was elected to Congress in 1994. He has a centrist voting record and a reputation as a deficit hawk. Kenneth P. Quinn, a former Federal Aviation Administration chief counsel, told The Washington Post that LaHood is an “outstanding bipartisan pick for the new president…but he’s going to be facing extremely daunting challenges in the industry, particularly in aviation, to restore badly strained labor management relations at the FAA. At the same time, he’ll have to effectively modernize our air traffic control system and deal with very pressing competition and congestion problems.”