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Monday, December 22, 2008

LaHood Tapped for DOT Post

At press time, retiring Republican Representative Ray LaHood (Ill.), who served on the House aviation subcommittee, was to be nominated Friday by President-elect Barack Obama to be Secretary of the Department of Transportation. LaHood ends his 13-year tenure in Congress at the end of the month.
LaHood, a moderate Republican Member of the U.S. House of Representatives who announced his retirement from Congress last year, will become the second Republican to join the President-elect’s cabinet and harkens back to President’s Bush’s decision to appoint Democrat Norm Mineta to the same post during his first term. LaHood, elected in 1994, has been a leading advocate for improving the state of Illinois’ transportation infrastructure, including being a “proponent for improving local airports through securing funds for new construction and expansion, while also working with officials to increase air service,” said the National Air Transportation Association. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association called him a strong advocate for general aviation.
"Congressman Ray LaHood has a well-deserved reputation for his even-handed, thoughtful and deliberative approach to complex issues,” said the Air Transport Association in response to the nomination, “Upon confirmation, ATA and our member airlines look forward to working closely with Secretary LaHood on critical issues affecting airlines, their customers and the nation, most importantly revitalization of the aviation infrastructure, prudent and equitable action on the reauthorization of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and how to best utilize the airlines' potential to generate the economic growth that the Obama administration is intent on developing."
Now serving his seventh term for Illinois’ 18th district, also represented by such luminaries as Abraham Lincoln, Everett Dirksen and Bob Michel, LaHood was re-elected in 2006 with 67 percent of the vote. He not only faces the daunting task of shepherding reauthorization through Congress but the challenges of quelling the disquiet between FAA and its controllers.
LeHood also served on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, Subcommittee on Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch. Prior to his election he served U.S. House Republican Leader Robert Michel as district administrative assistant and, for four years, as chief of staff, succeeding him when he retired in 1995.

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