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LaHood Steps Down

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the lone Republican in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, announced that he’s leaving the administration for the president’s second term.

The departure of LaHood is the latest of several changes in Obama’s administration since the president won re-election in November. He’s at least the sixth Cabinet official to say he is leaving as Obama begins his next four years in office.

LaHood, 67, was named transportation secretary in January 2009. Before that, he served seven terms in the U.S. House as a representative from Illinois. He said in a statement Tuesday he would remain in his role until a successor is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

“I’ve told President Obama, and I’ve told many of you, that this is the best job I’ve ever had. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with all of you and I’m confident that DOT will continue to achieve great things in the future,” LaHood wrote.

When he first took the Transportation post in 2009, LaHood was one of two Republicans in Obama’s Cabinet, along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served under George W. Bush and remained in his role when Obama took office. He left the administration in 2011.

It is rumored that former Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland are being considered for the open job.