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Posted on on February 5th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Raymond H. “Ray” LaHood (born December 6, 1945) is a Republican politician from Illinois who is currently the United States Secretary of Transportation, having served since 2009. Previously, he represented the Illinois’s 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms (1995–2009).

Ray LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Edward M. LaHood, a Lebanese American who managed a restaurant and Mary A. LaHood (née Vogel), who was of German ancestry.   He graduated from Spalding Institute, worked his way through Canton Junior College and Bradley University in Peoria, earning a Bachelors of Science in education and sociology in 1971.

Following graduation, he taught junior high school social studies at public and Catholic schools,  and has said that “teaching kids … about the constitution and government” stirred his interest in politics.

During his service in Congress, he became well-known among C-SPAN viewers as the presiding officer of more debates than any other member.  Most notably, in 1998 he presided over the contentious debate over the impeachment ofPresident Bill Clinton.

A strong advocate for preserving the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, LaHood authored a law that established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which laid the groundwork for celebrating the 16th President’s 200th birthday in 2009. He has also been a lead Capitol Hill supporter for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, and is one of 15 members on the ALBC.

LaHood served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 until 2000,  the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence beginning in 1998, and the House Appropriations Committee beginning in 2000.  In 2005 he voted against renewing the PATRIOT Act, saying he opposed extending its intrusive police powers.

During the 2008 presidential election, LaHood supported John McCain, but criticized the rallies being held by McCain’s vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, saying she should put a stop to the name calling, and that the tactic could backfire. “This doesn’t befit the office that she’s running for. And frankly, people don’t like it,” he said.

Ray LaHood and  Robert Gates, are the  two Republican members of the Obama Cabinet.

LaHood’s son , Sam, is the Egypt director of the Washington based International Republican Institute. The Egyptian government has detained him on January 21, 2012 a part of twelve foreign NGO representatives that were involved in monitoring the recent local elections in Egypt from leaving Egypt.

The decision on Sunday by investigating judges is likely to further sour relations between Egypt’s military rulers and the United States, the Arab nation’s chief western backer for more than 30 years. Read more on Newsmax.comEgypt Sends 43 NGO Workers to Trial over Funds.

It can be expected that this event will united Washington Democrats and Republicans in expressing full concern with the way Egypt’s Generals view their role as leaders of Egypt.

View Photo Gallery — The Associated Press reported that as many as 19 Americans would stand trial alongside Egyptian colleagues. View photos of turbulence in the new Egypt.

Egypt to prosecute Americans, including Sam LaHood, the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood, in NGO probe.

By Ernesto Londoño, Updated: Sunday, February 5, 7:00 PM, The New York Times online.

CAIRO — The Egyptian government intends to prosecute at least 40 people, including some U.S. citizens, as part of an investigation into nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign funding, state media reported Sunday.

The announcement came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned the Egyptian Foreign Ministry that failure to quickly resolve the probe could jeopardize the more than $1.3 billion Egypt expects to get this year in U.S. aid.

“We are very clear that there are problems that arise from this situation that can impact all the rest of our relationship in Egypt,” Clinton told reporters while attending an international conference in Munich in which she met with her Egyptian counterpart. “We don’t want that.”

State Department officials assessing the situation Sunday declined to comment.

The Associated Press reported that as many as 19 Americans would stand trial alongside Egyptian colleagues, five Serbs, two Germans and three non-Egyptian Arab nationals.

Among the Americans, AP reported, is Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Egyptian authorities did not disclose the specific charges or say whether indictments or arrest warrants have been issued. Pro-democracy NGOs have long operated openly but unofficially in Egypt, because Cairo has refused to grant them licenses.

The investigation is being watched closely by the Obama administration in part because one of the Americans under investigation is LaHood, the country director of the International Republican Institute, a pro-democracy organization, was barred from leaving the country last month. Several other Americans are on a no-fly list.

Fearing they could be arrested, at least three of the U.S. citizens under investigation have sought shelter at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Egyptian officials raided 17 offices last month as part of their crackdown on NGOs that receive foreign funding. These include the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, which train political parties and otherwise promote stronger governance.

The investigation has triggered unusually blunt warnings from Capitol Hill to a nation that has for years been seen as a stalwart ally.

More world news coverage: – U.S. assistance to Egypt in peril – – Russians rally en masse against Putin.

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