Obama chooses heir to ‘best ever’ transportation chief

President Obama chose Anthony Foxx to replace Ray LaHood as transportation secretary.

US President Barack Obama nominated a promising political upstart from the South to succeed a secretary he credited as perhaps the finest the Department of Transportation (US DOT) “ever had”.

Obama in a press conference proffered North Carolina native Anthony Foxx to replace outgoing US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Widely respected on Capitol Hill, LaHood, 67, is retiring from public office.

Foxx emerged in 2009 when he won a tightly contested election to become mayor of Charlotte, the most-populated metropolitan area in the ‘Tar Heel State’ and, after New York, the second-largest banking centre in America.

Foxx, who earned a second term in office in 2011, steered Charlotte “through a bruising economic crisis,” said Obama. Considered a rising star in the Democratic Party Foxx, 42, is an erstwhile corporate litigator who worked for Hunton & Williams.

The President also praised Foxx for his commitment to bettering transportation infrastructure in Charlotte, including a “new streetcar project” as well as his plan to expand Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and extending light rail transit (LRT).

Foxx in April announced he would not seek reelection. His selection to head US DOT will require US Senate confirmation. In November 2012, Obama was elected to his second term as US president. 

Foxx graduated from Davidson College and earned a law degree from New York University (NYU). He began serving on the Charlotte city council in 2005. He has also worked for the House Judiciary Committee and Justice Department.

In introducing Foxx as his nomination for transportation secretary, Obama also took care to praise LaHood, a Congressman from Illinois who became head of US DOT in 2009.

“Ray may be the best secretary of transportation that the nation has ever had,” Obama said.

The president went on to note how LaHood, a Republican, used a “bipartisan approach to governance”.