Obama's New SoT: What You Need to Know About Ray LaHood
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Ten years ago, Ray LaHood was gaveling in House impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. Today, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he would be serving as the next Secretary of Transportation.
LaHood is a moderate Republican who has broken with his party over Amtrak funding, voting yes last summer to expand passenger rail service. He also broke with the GOP on the Saving Energy Through Transportation Act. In 2005, he told the Peoria Journal-Star that "we've got a good Amtrak system in Illinois and I don't think we want to destroy it by talking about privatization."
Friends of the Earth responded to the LaHood nomination by saying: "While his overall record on energy and environment issues is poor, LaHood has in recent years broken with many in his party to support crucial investments in passenger rail and public transportation, and he is a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus." LaHood also supported the bicycle commuter benefit bill.
But while LaHood has certain strengths, working long hours doesn't appear to be one of them. When Democrats ousted the right-wing Do-Nothing Congress in 2006, LaHood worried about returning to a five-day work week:
Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of ThinkProgress.org and The Progress Report.