Obama picks Rep. Ray LaHood for Secretary of Transportation
Retiring Peoria lawmaker is 2nd Republican chosen for Cabinet
By Mike Dorning | Washington Bureau
The Chicago Tribune
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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