PEOPLE

Ray LaHood, Back Home in Illinois, Still Active in National Politics

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, speak in front of the under construction Oakland air traffic control tower near the Oakland Airport in Oakland, Calif.,Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. At far right is Oakland mayor Jean Quan. The House on Tuesday approved a stopgap bill intended to avoid a shutdown of federal highway and aviation programs, with Senate action expected later this week. The bill, which passed by a voice vote, temporarily extends operating authority for the Federal Aviation Administration through the end of January and federal highway and transit programs through the end of March. Senate and House leaders reached an agreement last week to temporarily extend both programs, signaling they had no appetite for the kind of partisan standoff that forced the FAA to partially shut down for two weeks this summer.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
National Journal
Mike Magner
See more stories about...
Mike Magner
Aug. 22, 2013, 1:44 p.m.

Former Trans­port­a­tion Sec­ret­ary Ray La­Hood has two new gigs in his home state of Illinois, both draw­ing ex­tens­ively on his more than three dec­ades of Wash­ing­ton ex­per­i­ence.

In Ju­ly, La­Hood joined the ad­vis­ory board for the Uni­versity of Chica­go’s In­sti­tute of Polit­ics, es­tab­lished in Janu­ary by a long­time ad­viser to Pres­id­ent Obama, Dav­id Axel­rod. This month, La­Hood be­came a seni­or ad­viser at the Dirk­sen Con­gres­sion­al Cen­ter in Pekin, Ill., just south of his birth­place in Pe­or­ia.

“I’m a big fan of the cen­ter,” La­Hood said in a state­ment. “The work they do with teach­ers all over the coun­try is im­press­ive. I began my ca­reer as a teach­er in Pekin, so I’ve watched the cen­ter grow and prosper over the years.”

La­Hood, 67, could not be reached for com­ment, but both the Dirk­sen Cen­ter and the In­sti­tute of Polit­ics seem like per­fect matches for him.

The cen­ter is named for the late Sen. Ever­ett Dirk­sen, R-Ill., who rep­res­en­ted the Pe­or­ia-based dis­trict in the House from 1933 to 1949 and was suc­ceeded by La­Hood 46 years later. La­Hood and his wife es­tab­lished a schol­ar­ship at the cen­ter in 2005, and he archived his con­gres­sion­al pa­pers there in 2008.

Mean­while, Axel­rod’s in­sti­tute has a bi­par­tis­an bent, a hall­mark of La­Hood’s en­tire polit­ic­al ca­reer. Oth­er mem­bers of the in­sti­tute’s ad­vis­ory board in­clude Weekly Stand­ard founder Bill Kris­tol and Re­pub­lic­an polit­ic­al con­sult­ant Mike Murphy on the right and former Obama ad­viser Dav­id Plouffe and Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress Pres­id­ent Neera Tanden on the left.

La­Hood, who taught so­cial stud­ies to ju­ni­or high school stu­dents in Pekin and Pe­or­ia for six years, star­ted his Wash­ing­ton ca­reer in 1977 as an aide to then-Rep. Tom Rails­back, R-Ill. La­Hood served a two-year term in the Illinois Le­gis­lature and then in 1983 joined the staff of then-Rep. Bob Michel, R-Ill., even­tu­ally be­com­ing chief of staff when Michel was House minor­ity lead­er.

Michel re­tired in 1994 and La­Hood ran suc­cess­fully for his seat, be­com­ing one of the fresh­men in a House Re­pub­lic­an ma­jor­ity for the first time in 40 years. Dur­ing his 14 years in the House, La­Hood or­gan­ized a num­ber of bi­par­tis­an re­treats for mem­bers of Con­gress; none like it has been held since he de­cided not to seek an eighth term in 2008.

Pres­id­ent Obama tapped La­Hood as Trans­port­a­tion sec­ret­ary for his first term in the White House, mak­ing him one of two Re­pub­lic­ans — along with De­fense Sec­ret­ary Robert Gates — in his Cab­in­et. La­Hood left Wash­ing­ton when his suc­cessor, An­thony Foxx, took of­fice on Ju­ly 2.

Dur­ing La­Hood’s fi­nal month in of­fice, his son made in­ter­na­tion­al news as a vic­tim of the on­go­ing tur­moil in Egypt.

Sam La­Hood had been work­ing in Cairo in early 2012 for a Wash­ing­ton-based or­gan­iz­a­tion called the In­ter­na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an In­sti­tute when he and dozens of oth­er Amer­ic­ans were de­tained by Egyp­tian mil­it­ary au­thor­it­ies and ac­cused of stir­ring up trouble after the ouster of Pres­id­ent Hosni Mubarak. It was only after a “no fly” or­der was lif­ted in May 2012 that La­Hood was able to leave Egypt.

Egyp­tian au­thor­it­ies didn’t drop charges against La­Hood and 15 oth­er Amer­ic­ans, however, and in June they were con­victed on charges of re­ceiv­ing for­eign funds to fo­ment un­rest. La­Hood was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia to five years in pris­on. The rul­ing was strongly de­nounced by Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry.

What We're Following See More »
FRENCH IS A LAWYER, VETERAN
Kristol Recruiting National Review’s David French for Third-Party Run
46 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children."

Source:
CALIFORNIA VOTES IN A WEEK
Jerry Brown Backs Clinton
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton today, calling her "the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump." While praising Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, Brown said "Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee. ... This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun."

Source:
GLASS CEILING STILL HARD TO CRACK
Clinton Says Voters Still Hung Up on Gender
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”

Source:
CHANGE WE CAN’T BELIEVE IN
Trump Vows Not to Change
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
Source:
FILING DEADLINE IS JUNE 24
McConnell Urging Rubio to Run for Reelection
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."

Source:
×