Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation
[White House Transcript]
2:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thanks.
Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.
PRESIDENT: Ray LaHood has said that being the Secretary of
Transportation is the best job he ever had in public service. And
that’s fitting because
Ray may be the best Secretary of Transportation that the nation’s ever
the day that he was sworn in, Ray has fought tirelessly to rebuild
America’s infrastructure -- creating good jobs that strengthen our
economy and allow
us to better compete in the global economy. Over the past four
thanks to Ray's leadership, we’ve built or improved more than 350,000
miles of road -- enough to circle the world more than 14 times.
upgraded more than 6,000 miles of rail -– enough
to go coast to coast and back. We’ve repaired or replaced more
20,000 bridges, and helped put tens of thousands of construction
workers back on the job. And that’s all due in no small part to
every American can thank Ray for his dedication to make our
transportation system not just stronger, but also safer. When it
to his focused attention
on the dangers of distracted driving, for example, it's saving
on a personal note, Ray LaHood has been a good friend of mine for many
years. Before he served in my Cabinet, we served together in
Congress. He’s a
Republican; I’m a Democrat. These days, that sometimes keeps
apart, but what always brought Ray and I together was a shared belief
that those of us who serve in public service owe their allegiance not
to party but to the people who elected them to represent
it helps that we're from the same state -- Ray is from Peoria; I'm from
Chicago. But we both love the state of Illinois, and we both get
the golf course -- and we're not that good -- (laughter) -- but we
don’t take ourselves too seriously. He is a good man, and has
outstanding public servant and a model for the kind of bipartisan
approach to governance that I think we need so badly
in this town.
So, Ray, on a personal level, I could not be more grateful to you for
your service and for your friendship. (Applause.)
unfortunately for us but fortunately for them, Ray is now looking
forward to spending more time with his wife Kathy and their family –-
whole gaggle of grandchildren. And so, today, I’m proud to
intent to nominate another impressive leader to carry on his great work
at the Department of Transportation: the Mayor of Charlotte, my
from North Carolina, Mr. Anthony Foxx.
life reflects the values he learned growing up in West Charlotte, where
he was raised by his single mom and his grandparents. I should
by the way, that his grandmother is here, and she informed me that she
worked here in the White House in the Truman administration. So
just coming back to -- (applause) -- she's just coming back for a
visit. And so, the values that they instilled in
them was to take pride in hard work, to take responsibility for your
actions, to take care of your community. And over the past three
half years, those values have helped Anthony become one of the most
effective mayors that Charlotte's ever seen.
Anthony became mayor in 2009, Charlotte, like the rest of the country,
was going through a bruising economic crisis. But the city has
turn things around. The economy is growing. There are more
opportunity. And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell
that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest
investments in transportation in the city’s history.
Anthony took office, they’ve broken ground on a new streetcar project
that’s going to bring modern electric tram service to the downtown
expanded the international airport. And they’re extending the
light rail system. All of that has not only helped create new
it’s helped Charlotte become more attractive to business.
I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation
Secretary. He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and
the country. And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be
extraordinarily effective. One of the things that Ray taught me
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.
the federal government has got to be responsive and has to understand
what it’s like when you’re a mayor or a governor or a county executive
to get these projects up and running, which also means that we have the
potential of continuing to streamline our approvals and get rid of some
-- sometimes difficulties in permitting that slow projects down,
because we want to get people back to work and
we want to get this country moving.
I am absolutely confident that Anthony is going to do an outstanding
job. I want to thank his mom and grandma and lovely wife and two
kids for being willing to serve as well. And I hope that the
confirms him quickly because we’ve got a lot of work to do.
top priority as a nation right now is doing everything we can to grow
our economy and create good jobs and rebuild opportunity for the middle
And one of the best ways we can do that is to put more Americans back
to work rebuilding our infrastructure.
that’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I proposed a
“Fix-It-First” program to put more people to work as soon as possible
on our most urgent repairs.
And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the entire burden, I’ve also
proposed a partnership with the private sector. But Congress has
step up, fund these projects. They need to do it right away.
need to modernize the infrastructure that powers our economy. We
more high-speed rail, and Internet, and high-tech schools, and
grids, and bridges, and tunnels, and ports that help us ship products
all around the world stamped with three proud words: Made in
That’s how we’re going to attract more businesses. That’s how
going to create more jobs. That’s how we’re
going to stay competitive in this global economy.
to Ray LaHood and his entire family, I want to thank you for just doing
an extraordinary job. To Anthony and his family, I want to thank
agreeing to serve. And I know that today’s announcement is not
biggest thing that Anthony’s family’s got going on in the next week,
because tomorrow is Anthony’s birthday. (Laughter.) So
that we can kick off the celebration here at the White
with that, what I’d like to do is ask both of them to say a few words,
starting with our outstanding current Secretary of Transportation, Mr.
2:18 P.M. EDT