Under the Dome

Anthony Foxx officially gets the nod

From AP: President Barack Obama is nominating the mayor of Charlotte to head his Department of Transportation. Obama revealed Mayor Anthony Foxx as his pick in the White House East Room Monday.

The president called the rising Democratic star his friend and called on the Senate to quickly confirm him. He said he wants to get Americans back to work rebuilding roads and other infrastructure.

The take from Washington, courtesy of the National Journal: "It’s a smart move politically for the White House. Not only does this give the president another minority in his Cabinet, but this move also boosts a rising star in the Democratic Party."

President Barack Obama's remarks: "Now, unfortunately for us but fortunately for them, Ray is now looking forward to spending more time with his wife Kathy and their family –- especially a whole gaggle of grandchildren.  And so, today, I’m proud to announce my intent to nominate another impressive leader to carry on his great work at the Department of Transportation:  the Mayor of Charlotte, my friend from North Carolina, Mr. Anthony Foxx. 

"Anthony’s life reflects the values he learned growing up in West Charlotte, where he was raised by his single mom and his grandparents.  I should add, 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 she's 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 and a half years, those values have helped Anthony become one of the most effective mayors that Charlotte's ever seen.

"When Anthony became mayor in 2009, Charlotte, like the rest of the country, was going through a bruising economic crisis.  But the city has managed to turn things around.  The economy is growing.  There are more jobs, more opportunity.  And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history. 

"Since Anthony took office, they’ve broken ground on a new streetcar project that’s going to bring modern electric tram service to the downtown area.  They’ve expanded the international airport.  And they’re extending the city’s light rail system.  All of that has not only helped create new jobs, it’s helped Charlotte become more attractive to business.

"So I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary.  He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.  And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective.  One of the things that Ray taught me in 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. 

"And 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 trying 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. 

"So 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 good-looking kids for being willing to serve as well.  And I hope that the Senate confirms him quickly because we’ve got a lot of work to do. 

"Our 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 class.  And one of the best ways we can do that is to put more Americans back to work rebuilding our infrastructure. 

"So 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 to step up, fund these projects.  They need to do it right away.

"We need to modernize the infrastructure that powers our economy.  We need more high-speed rail, and Internet, and high-tech schools, and self-healing power grids, and bridges, and tunnels, and ports that help us ship products all around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  That’s how we’re going to attract more businesses.  That’s how we’re going to create more jobs.  That’s how we’re going to stay competitive in this global economy.

"So 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 you guys for agreeing to serve.  And I know that today’s announcement is not the biggest thing that Anthony’s family’s got going on in the next week, because tomorrow is Anthony’s birthday.  (Laughter.)  So we’re happy that we can kick off the celebration here at the White House."

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