Transportation Secretary LaHood to leave post
January 29th, 2013
09:45 AM ET
1 year ago

Transportation Secretary LaHood to leave post

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.

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Moose

    Even his own picks knows what a worthless leader the bamman is

    January 29, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. DontBeAfraid

    "...The official did not provide a timeline for the departure."

    I heard he's taking the next bus out of town. Since buses are never on time, he doesn't even know when he's leaving.;

    January 29, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. deb0155

    It seems like everyone is jumping ship Obama's second time around – people are finally getting smart!

    January 29, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. zutux

    Rumor has it that he's still at the bus stop waiting for the freaking bus after he quit his job.

    January 29, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Art

    this will be a great opportunity for the president to appoint a minority or woman to the cabinet.

    January 29, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. confused

    When rats jump ship, you know that you are sinking.

    January 29, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Anon

    It seems like this happens every presidential cycle - people are always staying ignorant!

    January 29, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. AstroD

    Moose & deb0155, how many of GW Bush's cabinet remained into his second term? People have gotten rather stupid.

    January 29, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. blake

    Rats fleeing a sinking ship.

    January 29, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. idiotsabound

    Of course, since no reason was given, it could be something personal. I love to watch people making fools of themselves such as above. Although they fail to see it, this President has taken our country from a failing economy back to a thriving one. Unemployment is rebounding slowly, as it always does after a recession, and the stock market again is near record highs. Sadly, those who are racist cannot see past the color of our President's skin to the excellent job he has done the last 4 years.

    Historically, there is always a change in the guard for the second term of a re-elected President. But of course these people only see what they want to see. THEY are the problem with America today.

    January 29, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Zwei Stein

    So what did this guy do? Transportation secretary? What...arrange the Pres's schedule on AF1? Well, good bye!

    January 29, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Steve

    Nice play Obama bashers....

    LaHood said early last year he only planned to serve one term.

    Way to spin it haters!

    January 29, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Jim Brown

    He will likely take a job with his buddies at the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Assocation.

    January 29, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. KeyWester

    All these comments about people "jumping ship". Helloooo. Cabinet changes are normal in a new administration. 4 years of the kind of abuse someone gets in a public political position is about all they can stand.

    January 29, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Aames69

    He should leave. Public transportation in the US, especially in the large cities, is a COMPLETE DISASTER! Capacities are FAR exceeded. There's absolutely no such thing as "reliably regular" service. And it's primarily THIS MAN's fault for DOING NOTHING while at his (highly paid, prestigious) post!

    January 29, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. Tlg

    Nice try Moose, how about you find some actual data that supports your claim that Obama's turnover is above past presidents? Oh wait, you can't because it is not true.

    January 29, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  17. empresstrudy

    He's taking the maglev monorail out of town

    January 29, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. KeyWester

    The nasty comments about the Dept. of Transportation are uncalled for too. Most of the transportation decisions are decided on the state and local level. In Florida the governor gave back federal money for a speed rail that had been provided and would have helped mass transit in the state. With that kind of idiocy happening on the state level, I don't see how the federal Dept. of Transportation can be blamed if somebody's bus in Oshkosh (or where ever) isn't dependable.

    January 29, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. stwebb

    Money is usually the reason for the change...

    Hang out for four years, then become chairman of some transportation company making mucho dinero...

    I think Hillary has aspirations for power & money...

    Hillary 2016!!!

    January 29, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. single mom

    This is normal, people. After a re-election, people come and go. unless there are scandals brewing in the department, let's move on and focus on the big stuff – Fast & Furious, Benghazi, etc.

    January 29, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  21. Retired Army Officer

    LOL......you people are such dolts!

    Every second term President experiences a 60-80% turnover of cabinet and key staffers going from first term to second term. It's the nature of the game. Everyone is looking to progress......everyone is looking to pad their resumes and.....lets face it.....they all want to get PAID!

    And getting PAID don't happen when you work in government.....it happens AFTER you work in government.

    And BTW.....how many of you have worked the EXACT SAME JOB for 8 years?????

    January 29, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Jcook

    It's entirely possible that LaHood is leaving for personal reasons, but the shear number of ppl leaving the administration is very alarming. Bush, Clinton, and Reagan all had cabinet members leave in their second terms, but not like this. I wonder what is going on? Are they being forced out, or is there trouble in paradise? Guess we won't find out till they all start writing books.

    January 29, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. mb2010a

    Cabinet level position changes are perfectly normal at the beginning of any president's second term. Nothing new here...
    If you want to talk about people "jumping ship" you might want to check out how many Republican congressmen and women are quitting their party and not running again or a changing parties...

    January 29, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Rick McDaniel

    They all KNOW that Obama is a lost cause, and they are simply seeking other opportunities while there is time to do so.

    January 29, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. cgire

    Have you noticed that Republicans who are not in Obama's cabinet (i.e., almost all Republicans) never have anything positive to say. Indeed, they have no useful solutions to any of our country's problems, unless they're forced into it (i.e., immigration refomr).

    However, Republicans in Obama's cabinet (Lahood, Bob Gates, and soon Chuck Hagel), have all been very effective and extremely useful. Perhaps Democrats are better at picking valuable Republicans to take on public roles than the Republican Party is.

    January 29, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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