April 29, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
President Barack Obama will nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony R. Foxx, a 42-year-old attorney with government and private-sector experience, to become the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who announced in January that he would not serve a second term in Obama’s cabinet. LaHood has remained in the post until a successor takes office.
The president revealed his intentions April 29 in the East Room of the White House, with both Foxx and LaHood in attendance as Obama made introductory remarks.
“We look forward to working with Anthony Foxx upon his confirmation as the United States’ next secretary of transportation,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Through his experience in North Carolina, Mayor Foxx knows how vital the aviation sector is to our nation’s economy and to the nearly 400,000 AOPA members who cherish their freedom to fly. We look forward to working with him as he shapes aviation policy that improves safety and supports the role of general aviation as a vital part of the nation’s air transportation system.”
Foxx, a Democrat, has been mayor of Charlotte since 2009, after serving two terms as a member of the city council. He would take over from LaHood, a Republican, at a time when the federal budget sequester has roiled operations at the FAA, where in recent weeks air traffic control personnel were first issued furlough notices, but then saw them abruptly rescinded after votes in Congress in late April. The congressional action, which AOPA supported, gave the FAA budgeting flexibility to restore ATC service levels and head off closure of contract control towers.
According to his official biography, Foxx holds a law degree from New York University’s School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar in public service law. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College in North Carolina.
In 2009 he became deputy general counsel for DesignLine Corp., the biography said. The firm says it is a producer and seller of “environmentally friendly transit vehicles.”
In prior experience, he was an attorney at business law firm Hunton and Williams. Foxx has also served as a law clerk for the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a trial attorney for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and staff counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.
In reporting on the impending nomination, the New York Times reported that although he “does not have a transportation background,” Foxx, as Charlotte’s mayor worked on rail, highway and airport initiatives.
He is also known for winning for his city, population approximately 751,000, the right to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Foxx chaired the convention’s host committee.
Obama, calling for quick confirmation of Foxx by the Senate, praised LaHood for his effectiveness and said Foxx would be “another impressive leader to carry on his great work at the Department of Transportation.”
AOPA President Craig Fuller noted at the time of LaHood’s departure announcement that the department was in a time of great change, especially aviation, and that AOPA looked forward to working with his successor to ensure that general aviation continues to play a vital role in the nation’s transportation system.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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