Thursday, December 18, 2008

Obama picks Rep. Ray LaHood for Secretary of Transportation

Obama reportedly picking LaHood for transportation chief

Retiring Peoria lawmaker is 2nd Republican chosen for Cabinet


By Mike Dorning | Washington Bureau
The Chicago Tribune
Copyright 2008

WASHINGTON — Peoria Republican Rep. Ray LaHood has been chosen as Barack Obama's transportation secretary, placing him in a key role in an administration that has signaled plans for an ambitious public works program, according to Democratic and Republican officials.

A spokesman for the Obama transition declined to comment Wednesday, and reached by telephone, LaHood also declined to comment. But a Democratic official said Obama intends to announce LaHood's selection in the coming days.

LaHood would fulfill a pledge Obama made to name a Republican to his Cabinet, with an ideological moderate who has a reputation for bipartisanship and a deep network of relationships with members of Congress from both parties. Obama has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain in the Cabinet; Gates is a registered independent, though he has said he considers himself a Republican.

There is precedent for using the transportation post to reach across party lines. President George W. Bush appointed Democrat Norman Mineta to the job.

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