Illinois Congressman To Head DOT
Retiring congressman Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who presided over the impeachment of President Clinton, was nominated December 19 as the new secretary of transportation in President-elect Barack Obama’s Administration and the second Republican to sit in his Cabinet. LaHood served on the House aviation subcommittee for several years and was cited by AOPA in 2000 as a “strong advocate of general aviation.” According to his official biography, he has been a proponent for improving local airports by securing funds for new construction and expansion, while working with officials to increase air service. As DOT secretary, 63-year-old LaHood would play a major role in overseeing the massive transportation infrastructure programs that Obama is expected to put forth as part of a huge economic stimulus package. He still faces confirmation by the Senate. Although LaHood strongly supported McCain in the election, he developed a close relationship with Obama while working on the House Appropriations Committee on behalf of the state of Illinois. LaHood also is friendly with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who will be Obama’s chief-of-staff.