WASHINGTON – President 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.
Foxx is the first black nominee among Obama's picks for open spots in his second-term Cabinet.
If confirmed, he will replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood, one of the few Republicans serving in Obama's administration. Foxx would take over a department that has been at the center of Washington's debate over the impact of the so-called sequester cuts. The automatic cuts resulted in furloughs for air traffic controllers that spurred delays at many airports.
Congress reached a deal last week to provide the Transportation Department flexibility that allowed it to end the air traffic controller furloughs.
The White House official said that as mayor, Foxx has experience in boosting transit infrastructure and using those projects to create jobs. He oversaw a program to create an electric tram service to Charlotte, an expansion of a light rail system and the opening of a third runway at the city's airport.
Foxx was first elected Charlotte mayor in 2009. He raised his national profile last year when Charlotte played host to the Democratic Party's convention.
Obama is also close to announcing his picks for two other Cabinet-level posts. Longtime Obama fundraiser and hotel heiress Penny Pritzker is the leading candidate to run the Commerce Department, and White House international economic adviser Michael Froman is the top choice to be the next U.S. Trade Representative.