Obama Will Name Illinois GOP Rep Lahood as Sec. of Transportation

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CNN Breaking News Wire states, Barack Obama is expected to soon name Illinois GOP Rep. Ray LaHood as his transportation secretary pick, two sources say.

LaHood Offered Transportation Secretary Job

Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) last night 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 said

Congressman Ray LaHood Biography


Congressman Ray LaHood is serving his seventh term representing the 18th District of Illinois. First elected in 1994, Ray was re-elected to Congress on November 7, 2006, with over 67 percent of the vote.

Ray is a former schoolteacher, a long-time community leader, and has extensive legislative experience, all of which combine to give him a unique perspective on his job as a Congressman.

The district Ray represents includes the hometowns of several significant American leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Everett Dirksen, and Bob Michel.  In fact, the 20 counties of the 18th District contain the same 11 counties Lincoln represented as a Congressman.

Ray serves on the House Appropriations Committee, the panel that oversees federal discretionary spending. 

Appropriations Committee

-Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, Ranking Member
-Subcommittee on Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug
Administration, and Related Agencies
-Subcommittee on Legislative Branch

Since his first election, agriculture has been one of Ray’s top priorities.  With some of the finest farmland in the world, the 18th Congressional District has a tremendous farming heritage.  Ray has been a leader in the promotion of ethanol and has supported policies which are allowing unprecedented expansion of ethanol production in Illinois.  The Illinois Farm Bureau recognized Ray’s leadership on agriculture issues by awarding him their highest honor in 2005, the Charles B. Shuman Distinguished Service Award.

Ray has taken great pride in the 18th District’s ties to Abraham Lincoln, and he has been an advocate for advancing the legacy of the 16th President.  Ray authored the law establishing the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to lay the groundwork for celebrating Lincoln’s 200th birthday in 2009.  He has also led efforts to establish the highly-successful Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.   

Ray is viewed as a leading proponent for preserving the Illinois River.  He led efforts to secure Illinois’ inclusion in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a unique and highly successful environmental program for the Illinois River, which has allowed over 100,000 acres to be put into conservation easements.  He has supported efforts to enhance the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge in Mason County, expand the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in Fulton County, and create the Hennepin-Hopper Lakes backwater restoration project.  In recognition of his efforts for the river, Ray was awarded the Frank Bellrose Illinois River Valley Conservation Award in 2001 from the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. 

Ray has led efforts to enhance Illinois’ infrastructure. He has worked to secure funds to improve local highways, such as the reconstruction of Interstate 74 in Peoria, the expansion of U.S. Route 67, and the completion of Route 336.  Ray has been a proponent for improving local airports through securing funds for new construction and expansion, while also working with officials to increase air service. 

Over the years, Ray has been lauded by many for his leadership on the local, state, and national levels.  He is widely viewed as someone who has a deep respect for the institution of Congress and who works across party lines to achieve policy goals. 

He has led efforts to establish a higher level of civility, decorum, and bipartisanship in the House of Representatives.

His knowledge of Congress and his fair-handed demeanor have enabled him to be called upon many times to chair the House of Representatives during proceedings on contentious issues including the impeachment debate in 1998. 

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