Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced plans to step down from his post in the Obama administration. The sole Republican in the president's cabinet was a seven-term U.S. congressman representing Illinois' 18th congressional district before heading to D.C. to work with President Obama.
Gov. Pat Quinn released a statement applauding the work LaHood has done at both the national and state levels.
"During the worst recession since the Depression, he provided remarkable leadership in helping to restore our economy by spearheading the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which invested $48 billion in our transportation system and put people back to work across the United States," Quinn's statement read. "Thanks to Ray LaHood, Illinois is a national leader in high speed rail.
I was proud to stand next to Ray LaHood last October when we inaugurated high speed rail in Illinois and watched the speedometer on that train top 111 miles per hour. Illinois and the nation are picking up speed and heading toward a much brighter future, thanks to the hard work and visionary leadership of our friend Ray LaHood."
U.S. Rep Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) noted LaHood's support of troops and his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion.
"Secretary LaHood has provided the citizens of Illinois and all Americans with exemplary service over the past several decades," Duckworth said in a press release. "I have known Secretary LaHood since he represented Peoria, Illinois, the location of my National Guard Army Aviation Battalion. He has never failed to support our troops and military families.
As a teacher, Congressional aide, Member of Congress, and Secretary of Transportation, he has put service above all else.
"In particular, Secretary LaHood’s efforts to improve the infrastructure of Illinois and our nation will not soon be forgotten. The investments he has advocated for in our nation’s roads, bridges and rail lines has improved the lives of millions of Americans and assisted our economic recovery. As a Republican serving in a Democratic administration, he serves as an example of what can be accomplished through bipartisanship and I wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Obama has nominated former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) to the post of Secretary of Defense.