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ACCESS Announces Arab American of the Year: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

posted on: Feb 17, 2009

Ray LaHood, 16th Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, will receive ACCESS’ prestigious Arab American of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to individuals or organizations for their commitment and contribution to the development of their community on a local and national level.

Mr. La Hood will be cited at the 38th ACCESS Anniversary Dinner on May 2, 2009 at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center. Mr. LaHood, appointed as Secretary of Transportation by President Obama in January 2009 leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime and surface transportation missions. He has made it his mission to promote transportation safety across all modes, restoring economic health and creating jobs, sustainability shaping the economy of the coming decades by building new transportation infrastructure, and assuring that transportation policies focus on people who use the transportation system and their communities.

Prior to becoming Secretary of Transportation, LaHood served for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 18th District of Illinois. Among his many accomplishments during his seven terms in Congress, La Hood supported efforts to end discriminatory airport profiling and worked to end the ban on travel to Lebanon. Prior to his election to the House, he served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Robert Michel, and as District Administrative Assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature. LaHood and his wife, Kathy, have four children (Darin, Amy, Sam, and Sara) and seven grandchildren.

Previous awardees include U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham, Casey Kasem, U.A.W. International President Stephen Yokich, U.S. Congressman Nick Rahall, Mosaic Foundation, the National Arab American Medical Association, Helen Thomas, Joseph Haiek, Jamie Farr and Senator Daniel K. Inouye.