Ray LaHood on Bipartisan Politics, Obama, and Public Service

[ 0 ] July 12, 2013 |

Ray LaHood, former U.S. Transportation Secretary, on leaving “the best job I ever had” and why bipartisan politics is the way for America to move forward

Ray LaHood has spent the last 35 years in public service, and served as the United States Secretary of Transportation under President Obama since 2009. LaHood recently departed his post as head of the agency and, in July, joined David Axelrod‘s Institute on Politics at the University of Chicago. Former Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx succeeded LaHood as head of the transportation agency.

Watch what Ray LaHood had to say at the Aspen Ideas Festival 2013 on how to get things done in Washington, public service, the vision of America he shares with President Obama, and achieving political success:

“I’m walking out the door on the best job I’ve ever had,” Lahood says of his previous position as Transportation Secretary. “It’s a phenomenal job … It’s a job where you can get a lot of things done.” Lahood worked at rebuilding the American transit systems and to providing assistance to veterans returning to the United States, among other large-scale projects at the Transportation Department.

WATCH: Ray LaHood on Transportation of the Future

LaHood spoke highly of working with Obama, whom he has known since they served together in the Illinois delegation. “We shared the common interest of public service,” he says. That kind of relationship, he insists, is crucial for success in this position, and can surpass party differences.


Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with President Obama

“I’ve always believed in this idea that in order to get things done, it has to be done in a bipartisan way. Compromise has to be a part of it,” says LaHood. “The president believes in it. I believe in it.”

While partisan politics has plagued progress in Washington, LaHood believes America can and will get back to bipartisan politics, the way we have always moved forward.

WATCH: Sequester Hits Today; How Partisanship is Ruining America

After all of his years of public service, LaHood says that he is constantly inspired by “the ability to really make a difference for the American people. The ability to be a part of history.”

As for Lahood’s tip for success?

“Being humble … Taking seriously the jobs you have, but never taking yourself too seriously.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About Ray LaHood: Ray LaHood became the 16th Secretary of Transportation on January 23, 2009. In nominating him, President-elect Obama said, “Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant that I’m asking to lead the [...]
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