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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, he planned to resign, marking the latest departure from President Barack Obama's Cabinet.
"I have let President Obama know that I will not serve a second term as secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation," LaHood said in a statement.
"I want to thank Secretary LaHood for his dedication, his hard work, and his years of service to the American people – including the outstanding work he’s done over the last four years as Secretary of Transportation," President Obama said in a statement.
LaHood, a Republican and former seven-term Illinois congressman, brought a bipartisan element to the Democratic president's team.
The news was not unexpected. LaHood indicated in 2011 that he was leaving at the end of the first term, but then he seemed to avoid discussions.
LaHood, in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, acknowledged publicly what he had been telling friends privately for some time, saying that he was “conflicted” because he loved his job, “the best job I’ve ever had in public service.” He said he told Obama a week after the election that he thought he needed to move on.
LaHood said he would stay on the job until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. If Obama nominates a successor shortly, that would be a few months.
Rumors for possible replacements have already begun circulating the major news outlets. Those who’ve been on the list of possible replacements include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and National Transportation and Safety Board chairman Debbie Hersman.