The U.S. Senate is expected to vote this week to confirm Anthony Foxx (D) as the next Secretary of Transportation. If the vote happens in the next few days, it will come nearly five months after Ray LaHood (R) announced he would be leaving the Cabinet post. Foxx currently serves as Mayor of Charlotte, NC.
The specific timing of the vote will be set by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). However, according to a Politico.com news alert, “a Democratic aide said it would ‘probably’ be ‘early’ in the week.”
The agreement setting up the confirmation vote includes just 30 minutes of debate beforehand, noted Politic.com-- which also pointed out that “The Senate has been working on a major immigration overhaul bill, but the short-time agreement makes it easy to break from that debate to confirm Foxx.”
“I’d like to be an activate participant in the [highway bill] reauthorization process,” Foxx said at the confirmation hearing. “We clearly need a longer-term bill and one that provides a sustainable source of infrastructure funding for the future.”
Much of the hearing focused on Foxx’s approach to budgeting, specifically how he would prioritize transportation projects at current funding levels. “We had to make tough choices in Charlotte over the past couple of years” when it came to funding transportation projects, he remarked. “We only had funds one-fifth the size of the transportation needs in our city, so we had to prioritize.”
Foxx went on to state that as Secretary of Transportation, he would focus available funds primarily on projects that “are most effective connecting people to jobs and connecting our nation to the global marketplace.” Adding that one of the things he learned as Mayor of Charlotte is that one must get out of the “bubble” of elective office, Foxx said he plans to be “highly visible in the community” as part of Dept. of Transportation efforts to improve and expand transportation infrastructure.
Mayor of Charlotte since December 2009, Foxx is a relative newcomer to elective and appointed office. He was elected in 2005 to an at-large seat the Charlotte City Council. He served two terms before being elected Charlotte’s 48th-- and youngest (at 38)—mayor.
Foxx gained the attention of the Obama administration during his first mayoral term during and after Charlotte’s eventually successful bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012. He then served as chair of the city’s host committee for the event.
What’s more, Mayor Foxx had earned transportation credentials. He chaired the city council’s transportation committee and also served on its economic development & planning committee. During his time in office, transportation projects he championed included the return of streetcars to the Queen City for the first time in 50 years and development of an intermodal facility at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Foxx holds a law degree from New York University’s School of Law as a Root-Tilden Scholar, the university’s prestigious public-service scholarship. Prior to joining the DesignLine Corp. as deputy general counsel in 2009, Foxx was an attorney with Hunton & Williams.
Foxx has also served as a law clerk for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights Div. of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and as staff counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.