Ray LaHood to step down as Transportation Secretary

LaHood To Step Down as Transportation Secretary

LaHood To Step Down as Transportation Secretary

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Jan. 29 2013 10:11 AM

And Obama's Next Cabinet Opening Will Be ...

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addresses the White House Tribal Nations Conference on Dec. 5, 2012

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Add one more spot to the list of Cabinet-level openings that President Obama will need to fill early in his second term. The Associated Press:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican still left in President Barack Obama's first-term Cabinet, says he plans to leave the Obama administration. The former congressman from Illinois says in an interview with The Associated Press that he intends to remain at the department until his successor is confirmed.

LaHood, who remains popular with many of his old House GOP colleagues, had a relatively easy go of it during his four years as DOT secretary. On the most partisan issue tackled by his department—new fuel economy rules for the auto industry that also imposed the first ever federal greenhouse gas emissions standards—he largely played second fiddle to the EPA chief Lisa Jackson. Still, his tenure at the Transportation Department included a handful of other key initiatives, including efforts to curb distracted driving and a less-than-successful bid to lay the groundwork for a nationwide high-speed rail system.

LaHood told the AP that he has no plans to return to public office after leaving the administration. "You should go out while they're applauding," he said.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.