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Charlotte, N.C., mayor expected to be nominated for Cabinet

April 28, 2013|By David G. Savage | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx is expected to be named by President Obama as the new transportation secretary.
Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx is expected to be named by President… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- President Obama will nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx as the new secretary of Transportation on Monday, a White House official said.

If confirmed, Foxx would take charge of a department that has been in the spotlight of late because of flight delays associated with furloughs of air traffic controllers. Last week, under pressure from inconvenienced travelers, Congress passed legislation allowing the Federal Aviation Administration – part of the Transportation Department -- to halt the furloughs, which are related to $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts.

Foxx would become the third African American in Obama’s Cabinet, joining Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. 

The current Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, had announced his resignation in January, effective upon his replacement’s confirmation.

Foxx, a 41-year-old lawyer, was in the national spotlight last summer as the host of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

During his tenure as Charlotte mayor, the White House official said, Foxx improved transit infrastructure, including the groundbreaking of an electric streetcar project. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the administration’s official announcement.

Foxx served in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division during the latter part of the Clinton administration, and he later served on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee. He was first elected mayor in 2009.

He was seen as having aspirations for higher office, but earlier this month, Foxx surprised much of his city when he announced he would not run for reelection. He said then that he wanted to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

“I never intended to be mayor for life,” he told the Charlotte Observer.

The Charlotte mayor’s post is part-time; Foxx also works as a lawyer for the DesignLine Corp, a Charlotte-based maker of hybrid buses.

Among those reportedly considered for Transportation secretary was Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who announced in February that he would serve out his full mayoral term, which ends June 30.

Christi Parsons in Washington contributed to this report.

[For the record, 8:33 p.m. April 28: An earlier version of this post said Foxx would be the second African American in the Cabinet. Actually, he would be the third; Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are the others.]

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