Ray LaHood

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Ray LaHood
Ray LaHood official DOT portrait.jpg
16th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
January 23, 2009 – July 2, 2013
President Barack Obama
Deputy John Porcari
Preceded by Mary Peters
Succeeded by Anthony Foxx
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 18th district
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2009
Preceded by Robert Michel
Succeeded by Aaron Schock
Personal details
Born (1945-12-06) December 6, 1945 (age 68)
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Spoon River College
Bradley University
Religion Maronite Catholicism

Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood (born December 6, 1945) is an American politician who served as United States Secretary of Transportation from 2009 until 2013. A Republican from Illinois, LaHood represented Illinois's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2009.

Early life and education[edit]

LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Edward M. LaHood, a Lebanese American who managed a restaurant, and Mary A. LaHood (née Vogel), who was of German ancestry.[1][2][3] He graduated from Spalding Institute, worked his way through Canton Junior College and Bradley University in Peoria, earning a Bachelor of Science in education and sociology in 1971.[1]

Early career[edit]

Following graduation, he taught middle school social studies at public and Catholic schools,[1] and has said that "teaching kids ... about the constitution and government" stirred his interest in politics.[4]

LaHood was director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau and then district administrative assistant for U.S. congressman Tom Railsback, a Moline, Illinois Republican, from 1977 to 1982.[5] He was appointed in 1982 to fill a vacant seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, serving for nine months, and running for the seat in November 1982, but losing to Democrat Bob DeJaegher.[5] LaHood then became administrative assistant and ultimately the chief of staff to U.S. House minority leader Robert Michel, serving from 1982 until 1994.[5]

U.S. Representative[edit]

When Michel announced his retirement in 1994, LaHood ran for and won his seat in the House, representing Illinois's 18th congressional district.[1] LaHood was one of only three Republicans elected to the House that year who did not sign on to the Contract with America, Newt Gingrich's manifesto for a Republican majority,[5][6] and was a member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership. In 1997, in an effort to promote bipartisan cooperation, LaHood organized bipartisan retreats for members of Congress.[5]

During his service in Congress, he became well-known among C-SPAN viewers as the presiding officer of more debates than any other member.[1] Most notably, in 1998 he presided over the contentious debate over the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.[5][7]

A strong advocate for preserving the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, LaHood authored a law that established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which laid the groundwork for celebrating the 16th President's 200th birthday in 2009. He has also been a lead Capitol Hill supporter for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, and is one of 15 members on the ALBC.

LaHood served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 until 2000,[8] the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence beginning in 1998, and the House Appropriations Committee beginning in 2000.[5] In 2005 he voted against renewing the PATRIOT Act, saying he opposed extending its intrusive police powers.[5]

LaHood was said to be considering a challenge to Governor Rod Blagojevich's re-election bid in 2006, but chose to run for another term in Congress instead.[5] He won the 2006 race against Steve Waterworth[9] by a margin of 147,108 (67%) to 71,106 (33%).[10] On July 26, 2007, LaHood stated he would not seek re-election in 2008.[11]

In August 2007, LaHood received a 0% rating from the fiscally conservative 501(c)4 organization Club for Growth 2007 RePORK Card.[12] He received an 11% rating from the conservative lobbying group Citizens Against Government Waste in August 2007, and holds a lifetime 49% rating from the group.[13]

In 2007 LaHood considered, but later decided against, applying for the post of president of Bradley University.[5]

During the 2008 presidential election, LaHood supported John McCain, but criticized the rallies being held by McCain's vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, saying she should put a stop to the name calling, and that the tactic could backfire. "This doesn't befit the office that she's running for. And frankly, people don't like it," he said.[14][15]

Secretary of Transportation[edit]

LaHood works on a Habitat for Humanity project in Brooklyn, New York City, June 2009

On December 19, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Ray LaHood to be the next Transportation Secretary. LaHood's résumé on transport matters was considered thin by some critics, including the Wall Street Journal despite the fact that he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.[8] As a member of the House Appropriations Committee he won praise for his "skills as an arbiter" in being able to bridge sometimes bitter partisan divides in the Congress, something the position would require.[16] Some critics alleged a reputation for pork barrel spending, including in support of campaign contributors. The Washington Post reported that of the $60 million in earmarks LaHood secured for his district in 2008, $9 million went to campaign donors.[17]

His nomination was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on January 21, 2009.[18] He was, with Robert Gates,[19][20] one of two Republican members of the Obama Cabinet.[21]

On February 3, 2010, LaHood was criticized for advice he was asked to give while testifying before a congressional committee regarding Toyota's recall of 2.3 million vehicles due to sudden acceleration, wherein he suggested Toyota owners stop driving their cars. LaHood qualified his statement within an hour and a half of his testimony, spelling out that he meant "owners of any recalled Toyota models (should) contact their local dealer and get their vehicles fixed as soon as possible."[22]

Ray LaHood is a supporter of airline passenger rights to facilities, food and water during lengthy on-aircraft delays.[23] He is also a strong proponent of high-speed rail, saying "This is what the American people want. If you build it, they will come."[24]

LaHood announced his plans to step down as transportation secretary at the end of Obama's first term in 2013. He did not seek any public office after that, and instead entered the private sector.[25]

On December 6, 2011, Secretary LaHood accepted the resignation of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who was charged with drunk driving near his Washington home. In February 2013 LaHood lamented the amount of infrastructure spending that was approved by Congress during his tenure at the Department of Transportation. "America is one big pothole right now," LaHood said in an interview on "The Diane Rehm Show" on National Public Radio.[26] He went on to mention that Congress passed a $105 billion surface transportation bill last year, but he lamented the fact that the measure only provided appropriations for road and transit projects until 2014. "Congress passed a two-year bill. Ordinarily they would pass a five year bill," he said. "It was only a two-year bill because they couldn't find enough money to fund a five-year bill."

On January 29, 2013, Secretary LaHood announced he would resign as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation upon the confirmation of his successor by the United States Senate. President Obama nominated the incumbent mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, Mr. Anthony Foxx, to the U.S. Senate to succeed Secretary LaHood, and Foxx was subsequently confirmed and took office.

A Wednesday evening, July 9, 2014 online news story article release, from the day's Chicago Tribune online edition, written by Tribune reporter Jon Hilkevitch, stated that Chicago's Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had asked Secretary LaHood to chair a search committee to select the next Chicago aviation commissioner. The current officeholder, Rosemarie Andolino, a Richard M. Daley appointee, from the area and with no prior aviation experience, has chosen to resign the $187,000-a-year position in October 2014 to pursue an aviation position in the private sector. Previous officeholders drawn from a larger search area who did have experience clashed with Mayor Daley and didn't last long; the current search committee, whose other task force members will soon be named, will conduct a national search for an experienced impartial candidate who will work for Chicago (and who recognizes the importance of O'Hare Airport and the other airports' welfare for the city), and who will work smoothly with city and state and federal officials, the city council, and the mayor. Mayor Emanuel, who as Mayor and as a former White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama, and before those offices, as a U.S. Representative from the Chicago area (including a stint as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus), knows and admires (and is a close friend of) Secretary LaHood (who is respected, like his Congressional predecessor Bob Michel, for his bipartisanship and across-the-aisle friendships and outreach efforts), also chose Secretary LaHood because of his Cabinet-based and Congressional expertise with transportation and aviation matters.[27]

Honors[edit]

In May of 2013, Illinois State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth, who, like LaHood did in the U.S. Congress, represents a central Illinois district, introduced legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives Rules Committee (House Joint Resolution 35) that, if passed by the state House and Senate and signed by Governor Pat Quinn, would rename a 6-mile stretch of Interstate 74 from the Murray Baker Bridge (over the Illinois River between Tazewell and Peoria Counties) to the Sterling Avenue exit as the Ray LaHood Highway. That section corresponds to much of what was contained in the major multi-year revision that was the Upgrade 74 project in the last decade (the 2000s) that LaHood had backed in the later years of his tenure in the U.S. House.[28]

Also that month, in recognition of his Congressional and Cabinet service as he neared his last days in office, a portrait of him (with a bust of Abraham Lincoln's head in the background- LaHood represented his 18th Illinois Congressional District and named the headquarters of his agency after him) by Simmie Knox- who did portraits of President and Hillary Clinton- was unveiled and dedicated at the Abraham Lincoln U.S. Department of Transportation Building in Washington, D.C. in the presence of LaHood's family, U.S. Merchant Marines, Shaun Donovan (Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), and Janet Napolitano (Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), as well as his predecessor in Congress in Illinois's 18th District, former U.S. House Minority Leader Robert Michel.[29]

Electoral history[edit]

Ray LaHood's congressional seat, Illinois's 18th congressional district, has been Republican since 1939.

Illinois's 18th congressional district: Results 1994–2006[30]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
1994 G. Douglas Stephens 78,332 39% Ray LaHood 119,838 60% *
1996 Mike Curran 98,413 41% Ray LaHood 143,110 59%
1998 (no candidate) Ray LaHood 158,175 100% *
2000 Joyce Harant 85,317 33% Ray LaHood 173,706 67%
2002 (no candidate) Ray LaHood 192,567 100%
2004 Steve Waterworth 91,548 30% Ray LaHood 216,047 70%
2006 Steve Waterworth 73,052 33% Ray LaHood 150,194 67%
* Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1994, write-ins received 955 votes. In 1998, write-ins received 2 votes.

LaHood did not to seek re-election in 2008, and Barack Obama nominated him to be U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Illinois State Representative Aaron Schock of Peoria won the seat for the Republicans in the 2008 election.[31]

Personal life[edit]

LaHood and his wife Kathy have a residence in East Peoria, Illinois. Ray and Kathy have four children—Darin, Amy, Sam, Sara. Their son, Darin LaHood, is a current member of the Illinois Senate.

On January 21, 2012, LaHood's son, Sam LaHood, was detained by the Egyptian government and not allowed to leave the country as part of a politically charged criminal investigation by the Egyptian government into the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) monitoring local elections in Egypt. LaHood's son is the Egypt director of the International Republican Institute. The Egyptian government has detained twelve NGO representatives from leaving Egypt.[32]

On February 5, 2012, Egyptian authorities charged LaHood's son and 42 other individuals with "spending money from organizations that were operating in Egypt without a license." Nineteen Americans are part of the 42 charged. The U.S. government has made it clear that $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt could be withheld if the investigation is not finished quickly. Faiza Abu Naga, Egypt's Minister of International Cooperation, is seen as the person pushing the investigation forward.[33][34] Sam LaHood left Egypt along with several foreign NGO workers on Thursday March 1, 2012.[35]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e U.S. Congressman Ray LaHood (Archived version from 2003)
  2. ^ "Ancestries of Miscellaneous Celebrities, Ray LaHood". Ancestry.com. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Famous Arab Americans – Political". Arab American Institute. Retrieved February 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rep. LaHood Talks History at Holy Family School". Peoria, Illinois: WEEK-TV. October 8, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ray LaHood career highlights". Peoria Journal Star. December 6, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ Fletcher, Michael A.; Rucker, Philip (December 18, 2008). "Obama to Add GOP's LaHood to Cabinet". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ =Broder, David S. (August 2, 2007). "A Setback for Civility". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Ray LaHood – U.S. Department of Transportation
  9. ^ Waterworth for Congress
  10. ^ "Race finder, Illinois's 18th Congressional District". Elections 2006" (CNN). 
  11. ^ Tankersley, Jim; Pearson, Rick (July 26, 2007). "LaHood will not seek re-election". Chicago Tribune. 
  12. ^ The 2007 Club for Growth RePORK Card[dead link] "The Club For Growth", August 9, 2007
  13. ^ Citizens Against Government Waste 2007 House Scorecard "Citizens Against Government Waste", August 27, 2008
  14. ^ Nagle, Maria (October 10, 2008). "LaHood criticizes Palin campaign rallies". Jacksonville Journal-Courier (Jacksonville, Illinois). 
  15. ^ "Republican Congressman Criticizes Palin Rallies". The Huffington Post. October 10, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  16. ^ Weisman, Jonathan; Conkey, Christopher (December 18, 2008). "LaHood to Get Transportation Post". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  17. ^ Leonnig, Carol D. (January 14, 2009). "Last Year, LaHood Sponsored Millions in Earmarks; Some Funding Went to Campaign Donors". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  18. ^ Matthew L. Wald (January 22, 2009). "Panel Approves Transportation Nominee". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Gates is not registered with any political party, but considers himself Republican. "Gates: Military looks to accelerate Iraq pullout". Associated Press. December 1, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  20. ^ Wall Street Journal "bipartisan"
  21. ^ Wald, Matthew L. (January 22, 2009). "Panel Approves Transportation Nominee". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Toyota recall:DOT Secretary LaHood pulls back from telling owners not to drive their cars". USA Today. February 3, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  23. ^ Maxon, Terry (May 12, 2010). "DOT Secretary LaHood names aviation future panel". Aviation Blog (DallasNews.com). Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  24. ^ Chapman Steve (April 28, 2011) Taking Taxpayers for a Ride, Reason
  25. ^ Skiba, Katherine (October 13, 2011), "LaHood to be transportation secretary for one term only", Chicago Tribune (Chicago) 
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-ray-lahood-to-head-search-committee-for-new-city-aviation-chief-20140709,0,4130346.story
  28. ^ http://www.pjstar.com/news/x438180595/Legislation-would-rename-part-of-I-74-after-Ray-LaHood
  29. ^ http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1039443338/Transportation-Secretary-Ray-LaHood-honored-with-portrait
  30. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved January 10, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Elections". WEEK News 25 website. Granite Broadcasting. November 5, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2008. [dead link] 100% of precincts reporting. Unframed data at [2].
  32. ^ Steven Myers and David Kirkpatrick (January 26, 2012). "As Tensions Rise, Egypt Bars Exit of Six Americans". New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  33. ^ Londoño, Ernesto and William Wan (February 5, 2012). "Egypt to prosecute Americans in NGO probe; Sam LaHood among those facing criminal charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  34. ^ Bradley, Matt (February 7, 2012). "Egypt Names 19 Americans in Probe". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  35. ^ politico

External links[edit]

Articles
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Michel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 18th congressional district

1995–2009
Succeeded by
Aaron Schock
Political offices
Preceded by
Mary Peters
United States Secretary of Transportation
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Anthony Foxx