Rodney E. Slater

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For the British Musician, see Rodney Slater (musician).
Rodney Earl Slater
Slater rodney.jpg
13th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
February 14, 1997 – January 20, 2001
Preceded by Federico Peña
Succeeded by Norman Mineta
Personal details
Born (1955-02-23) February 23, 1955 (age 60)
Marianna, Arkansas
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Eastern Michigan University
University of Arkansas

Rodney Earl Slater (born February 23, 1955 in Marianna, Arkansas) was the United States Secretary of Transportation under U.S. President Bill Clinton.


Slater graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1977, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1980.[1]

Early career[edit]

Slater became a research assistant to the State Judiciary Committee of the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 1979–80, an assistant attorney general for the state of Arkansas in 1980. He was appointed to several state government positions in Arkansas by Bill Clinton. Positions included assistant to the governor between 1983 and 1987, and member of the Arkansas State Highway Commission between 1987 and 1993.[2] Slater was also the director of governmental affairs for Arkansas State University during that time.[3]

Appointment to federal positions[edit]

After Clinton was elected president, 1993 Slater became the first African-American Director of the Federal Highway Administration.[1]

In 1997, Slater was appointed to be the Secretary of Transportation. He was the second African American to hold that post.[1]


Slater was able to muster bipartisan support in congress for his projects including:

Private sector[edit]

Slater is part of a group of investors headed by Stan Kasten that successfully purchased the Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals.[4]

Slater is an attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Patton Boggs LLP, where he is head of the transportation practice and works on projects related to the transportation infrastructure.[5] He is also a partner in James Lee Witt Associates, a risk management firm headed by former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt.

He serves on the board of directors of Africare, a nonprofit providing development aid to countries in Africa, and The Dance Theater of Harlem,[citation needed] and is the chair of the Board of Trustees of United Way. Slater also serves on the corporate boards of Delta Air Lines and Verizon. He has been appointed to join the board of WS Atkins as a non-executive director effective 9 September 2011.

As of December 3, 2014 Slater was appointed to serve as special counsels to Takata Corporation in support with Takata's dealings on the 2013 airbag recall issues they are facing. They will advise the Company as they address the current challenges Takata faces.[6]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Federico Peña
U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Served under: Bill Clinton

Succeeded by
Norman Mineta
Preceded by
Alpha V. Alexander
Archie Griffin
Steve Largent
Steve Raible
Lee Roy Selmon
Wally Walker
Silver Anniversary Awards (NCAA)
Class of 2002
Richard C. Chapman
Maurice "Bo" Ellis
Herman Frazier
Betsy King
John Naber
Rodney E. Slater
Succeeded by
Debbie Brown
Ann Meyers Drysdale
Dale Kramer
Kenneth MacAfee
Warren Moon
Gifford Nielsen