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January 11, 2013

Hutchison next transportation secretary?

Hutchison@gdickson

Retired U.S. Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, is a candidate to become the next transportation secretary, according to a blog item from The Hill.

Current Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has previously said he intended to only serve one term in the Obama administration, although he has not yet announced a departure date.

Hutchison retired after a 20-year career in the Senate, where she championed several key transportation issues. Texas has long been a "donor state," sending far more of the federal motor fuels tax collected at the pumps to Washington than it got back in appropriations for transportation projects, but Hutchison wrote legislation that somewhat corrected that imbalance.

She also has been a strong supporter of passenger rail efforts, including Amtrak and the ongoing high-speed rail initiative.

It's not unusual for presidents to appoint someone from the opposite party transportation secretary, as a nod to bipartisanship.

LaHood was a Republican congressman from Illinois before he was chosen for President Obama's otherwise Democratic cabinet. Lahood

A decade ago, Democrat Norman Mineta served as transportation secretary under President George W. Bush, a Republican. Mineta

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