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Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Anthony Foxx speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 29, 2013, after President Barack Obama announced Foxx' nomination to succeed Ray LaHood as the next transportation secretary. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Foxx to become transportation secretary for United States
President Barack Obama has nominated Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx, a rising star in Democratic politics, to run the Transportation Department, it was announced this week.
“Anthony’s life reflects the values he learned growing up in West Charlotte, where he was raised by his single mom and his grandparents,” Obama said. “And over the past three and a half years, those values have helped Anthony become one of the most effective mayors that Charlotte's ever seen. When Anthony became mayor in 2009, Charlotte, like the rest of the country, was going through a bruising economic crisis.
“But the city has managed to turn things around. The economy is growing. There are more jobs, more opportunity. And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history.
“So I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding transportation secretary. He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country. And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective. One of the things that Ray taught me in watching him do his job is that establishing personal relationships with mayors and governors and county executives makes all the difference in the world, because transportation is one of those things that -- it’s happening on the ground.”
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge, a strong advocate for more Blacks in the President’s cabinet, also supported the nominee.
“I am especially pleased the President has appointed Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation. Through his work as mayor and as a city councilman in Charlotte, Anthony addressed the needs of an area that experienced tremendous growth within the past decade,” she said.
“Anthony will surely be an asset to the President’s cabinet and to this nation and I look forward to working with him to ensure the needs of our country’s transportation system are adequately met.”
Foxx will be the first Black nominee among Obama's picks for open spots in his second-term cabinet. The president has faced questions, including ones from the Congressional Black Caucus, about a lack of diversity in his first round of nominations after winning re-election.
If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would take over a department that has been at the center of Washington's debate over the impact of the so-called sequester cuts. The automatic cuts resulted in furloughs for air traffic controllers that spurred delays at many airports.
Congress reached a deal in April to provide the Transportation Department flexibility that allowed it to end the air traffic controller furloughs.
The White House official said that as mayor, Foxx has experience in boosting transit infrastructure and using those projects to create jobs. He oversaw a program to create an electric tram service to Charlotte, an expansion of a light rail system and the opening of a third runway at the city's airport.
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation also supports Foxx.
“We are pleased to support President Obama's nomination of The Honorable Anthony R. Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, to serve as secretary of the U. S. Department of Transportation,” they said in a statement.
“Mayor Foxx's exceptional public service background leading the city of Charlotte prepares him to lead the DOT with distinction. His leadership in the successful expansion of the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and bringing modern electric tram service to the city of Charlotte improved the city's transit infrastructure to compete in a global economy. Mayor Foxx clearly understands how to use public service projects that revitalize our nation's crumbling infrastructure to increase opportunities for businesses and workers.
“We encourage the U. S. Senate to swiftly hold confirmation hearings for Mayor Foxx so he can begin his new role leading the Department of Transportation on behalf of the American people.”
Julie Pace Associated Press and Kenneth Miller Los Angeles Sentinel both contributed to this report.