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Obama Nominates Charlotte Mayor As Transportation Secretary


President Barack Obama officially announced Monday that he intends to nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the Secretary of Transportation.

If confirmed by the Senate, Foxx would replace Ray LaHood, who announced plans to step down in January after four years in the position.

"When Anthony became mayor in 2009, Charlotte, like the rest of the country, was going through a bruising economic crisis," Obama said in remarks at the White House. "But the city has managed to turn things around. The economy is growing. There are more jobs, more opportunity."

He added, "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."

Obama noted that since Foxx took office, Charlotte has broken ground on a new streetcar project, expanded the international airport, and extended 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," the president said.

"So I know Anthony's experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary," Obama added. "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."

The nomination of Foxx, an African American, comes amid criticism about a lack of diversity in Obama's second term Cabinet.

Foxx would join Attorney General Eric Holder as the only African Americans in Obama's Cabinet following the departures of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

In his remarks, Obama also called on Congress to fund the transportation projects he proposed in his State of the Union Address, including the "Fix-It-First" program that he said would put people to work as soon as possible on the nation's most urgent repairs.

"We need to modernize the infrastructure that powers our economy," Obama said. "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."

He added, "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."

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