Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman (R) and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (L) announce a partnership with Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation to combat human trafficking on Amtrak trains during a press conference at Union Station in Washington, DC, October 4, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON
WASHINGTON (AP) - 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 has helped the Obama administration steer through a number of safety measures and highway projects during the past four years. His record has included steps to curb distracted driving, promote high-speed rail projects and improve roads and bridges.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates also was a Republican.
LaHood says he will not run for public office in his home state of Illinois, saying he believes "you should go out while they're applauding."
President Obama released this statement saying,
"I want to thank Secretary LaHood for his dedication, his hard work, and his years of service to the American people - including the outstanding work he's done over the last four years as Secretary of Transportation. I also want to thank Ray for his friendship. Years ago, we 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. And Ray has never wavered in that belief. As Secretary of Transportation, he has fought to create jobs and grow our economy by rebuilding our roads, bridges and transit systems. Under his leadership, we have made significant investments in our passenger rail system and laid the groundwork for the high-speed rail network of the future. And every American who travels by air, rail or highway can thank Ray for his commitment to making our entire transportation system safer and stronger. I am grateful to Ray for everything he's done, and I wish him only the best going forward."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)