Washington (CNN) - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the lone Republican in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, announced Tuesday that he's leaving the administration for the president's second term.
The departure of LaHood is the latest of several changes in Obama's administration since the president won re-election in November. He's at least the sixth Cabinet official to say he is leaving as Obama begins his next four years in office.
LaHood, 67, was named transportation secretary in January 2009. Before that, he served seven terms in the U.S. House as a representative from Illinois. He said in a statement Tuesday he would remain in his role until a successor is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
"I've told President Obama, and I've told many of you, that this is the best job I've ever had. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to work with all of you and I'm confident that DOT will continue to achieve great things in the future," LaHood wrote.
When he first took the Transportation post in 2009, LaHood was one of two Republicans in Obama's Cabinet, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served under George W. Bush and remained in his role when Obama took office. He left the administration in 2011.
Chuck Hagel, a former senator from Nebraska, would become the only Republican member of Obama's Cabinet if he's confirmed by the Senate.
Other roles – including the secretaries of labor, interior, and commerce – also need to be filled for Obama's second term.
Sources familiar with the process have previously told CNN that former Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland were being considered for the open jobs.
Obama said Tuesday that LaHood and he were "drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent."
"Ray has never wavered in that belief," the president said.
In his statement Tuesday, LaHood touted his achievements on transportation safety, pointing to his Distracted Driver Initiative and new regulations combating airplane pilot fatigue. LaHood's transportation department also pushed through new fines on airlines that left passengers stuck in planes parked on tarmacs, which resulted in those types of delays diminishing.
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
It is interesting to see all the comments presenting what is the best from America is also the worst....
Use what you have and be constructive. Point out the issues instead of making up issues. Have fun you all.
Please note that LaHood was the lone Republican in President Barack Obama's Cabinet...why are you surprised that he's leaving?
Too bad. America is losing an excellent Transportation Secretary. He must be frustrated that the House of Representatives is holding funding for common sense Highway maintenance, Transit and High Speed Rail projects that need to get done.
Why do CNN authors do their level best to mislead and manipulate the general public? This article offers no reason why this official has chosen to leave. But by saying that he is the 6th person to leave during Obama's tenure, CNN has the audacity to imply they are simply fleeing Obama. CNN doesn't bother to explain that, historically, cabinet members don't always stay for a 2nd term president. Articles like this one are only fodder for the ignorant, such as the intellectually-challenged posters above.
People leave relatively low paying jobs like this after they have made all of their political connections. I guarantee Ray will make over a million a year at his next job.
Considering the poor condition of american bridges, rail and roads Transportation as a Cabinet level position needs work. But then politics interfers with common sense and that's a shame. We need workable solutions, not more usless words.
Please do continue, GOP/repubs, to degrade President Obama. It is one of many reasons why you lost this last election
"This President has taken our country from a failing economy back to a thriving one."
I don't think so! Recessions are always followed by expansive growth...........not yet folks!
BTW: the financial crisis and housing bubble happened during G.W. Bush adminsitration.
He made the banks lend all that bad credit! Other than that what did he have to do with it?
But ofcourse the libs still want to blame GWB
Then a Republican Congressman, Secretary LaHood did a really admirable job presiding over the President Clinton impeachment hearings. He put his politics aside and did a fair and admirable job during a really, really difficult time for our country. R or D, you have to admire the job he did doing a virtually thankless job. (he chaired the debate and examination – he did not present evidence for or against impeachment)
The fact that after Clinton was acquitted,every member and senator from both parties gave LaHood a long standing ovation is a testament to the man and his willingness to risk his own legacy to guide the nation during one of our darkest hours.
Thanks Mr. Secretary! Hats off to you.
Why is this "Breaking News!" The man is leaving his job – big whoop! Talk about being drama queens!!!
I thought this was common knowledge that LaHood would not continue on in Obama's second term.
And to those who are making a mockery of the cabinet departures of Obama's administration, just look back to to 2005 and the mass exodus of Bush's cabinet.
Most cabinet positions turn over when a president starts a second term.
Another worthless administrator leaves only to be replaced by another.The useless,corrupt,despotic Obama administration at work again.God have mercy on American because Obama won't.
He is a great guy! I was happy to see him serve at such a high level. Good luck sir.
As a republican, hes leaving because he hasnt got the balls to continue be the Transportation Secretary in our presidents cabinet. So long!! You wont be missed!!:)
Wow! Good riddance! Too bad he will not take the Liar-in-Chief with him. Obamalooney is probably too much of a hot commodity for the Hood.
Oh well. I guess we can all dream, while we are able to; before the Messiah takes that right away too!.
mr. lahood resigning? big surprise, considering the legislative, judicial and executive branch` current standard of evidence... google "it is now mathematically impossible to pay off the u.s. debt."
So what did this guy do? Transportation secretary? What...arrange the Pres's schedule on AF1? Well, good bye!
Really? REALLY? you really have to be kidding.
What a nation of dimwits we have become.
Good riddance. Career government service drone with no qualifications for any of his jobs other than political administration connections. He once famously declared that he would not buy a Toyota. His motivations are questionable for making such a statement are unknown, except to jump on the media frenzy bandwagon of mystery accelerations. A year later when a NASA panel could find no fault with Toyota products other than victimization by fraudulent owners and opportunitstic trial lawyers, Ray Lahood was conspicuously absent. Maybe he didn't want to explain why he had participated in wiping a few billion dollars of market capitalization out of Toyota. Unbroken string of incompetence, political corruption, and ineptitude in every cabinet post.
Not Gregoire! She's Canadian!
Just to help the TGOP'rs...
During GWB 2nd term appointments
Secretary of State – Powel to Rice
Secretary of the Treasury – Snow to Paulson
Secretary of Defence – Rumsfield to Gates
Secretary Health & Human Services – Thompson to Leavitt
Secretary for Housing & Urban Development – Martinez to Jackson to Preston
Attorney General – Ashcroft to Gonzalez to Mukassy
Secretary of the Interior – Norton to Kempthorne
Secretary of Agriculture – Veneman to Johanns to Schafer
Secretary of Commerce – Evans to Guiierrez
Secretary of Energy- Abraham to Bodma
Secretary of Education – Paige to Spellings
Secrertary of Veteran's Affairs – Principi to Nicholson to Peake
Secretary of Homeland Security – Ridge to Chertoff
I know its hard for you TGOP'rs to think when Honey Boo Boo is on...but your uneducated rants from the cheap sits continuously demonstrate how out of touch you really are...remember GOOGLE is your friend..LOL
Secretary of Transportation – Mineta to Peters
Gregoire is not Canadian.
and another one bites the dust--he doesn't have anyone left that is willing to work with him (Obama), Wonder why???
Good riddance, he was a leftover from Dubya's fiasco.