President Obama will nominate rising political star Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the Transportation Secretary today, reports Politico and the Charlotte Observer. Foxx would replace Ray LaHood, whose performance has been criticized in recent weeks due to air traffic delays.
Obama will announce Foxx's nomination on Monday, a day before the mayor's 42nd birthday, the official said. ... Foxx, the first Democrat elected to the Charlotte mayor's office in 22 years, has long seemed a person on the way up. Foxx's transportation credentials include his push for expanding the city’s LYNX streetcar to UNC-Charlotte, creating the Charlotte Regional Intermodal Facility that transfers cargo between trucks and trains, and building a new runway at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
As an African-American, Foxx will also help address complaints about a perceived lack of diversity among Obama's top advisers. Conan O'Brien joked about that topic Saturday night, telling the president during the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner that "your hair is so white, it could be a member of your Cabinet."
Attorney General Eric Holder and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice are the only Blacks currently serving in the Obama Administration cabinet.
Foxx was in favor of personnel policy changes protecting LGBT workers, instituted by former City Manager Curt Walton in April 2010 and December 2012. The mayor also supported the addition of domestic partner benefits to the city’s budget in June 2012. The mayor also made several historic firsts with the LGBT community, becoming the first sitting mayor to address LGBT constituents in a public forum at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte in December 2010.
Foxx also spoke out against Amendment One, the state constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriages passed by voters in May 2012.
[But he] has offered no comment on where he stands regarding full marriage equality for same-sex couples. And, he has not been a proponent of other local changes that would require the vote of City Council, including the addition of LGBT protections in the city’s Commercial Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
Charlotte has the distinction of being the state's only major city to lack protections for LGBT employees. There are also no statewide protections for LGBT citizens or employees in North Carolina.
Foxx said earlier this month that he would not seek a third term as mayor of North Carolina's largest city. The City Council will be tasked with appointing an interim mayor after Foxx submits his resignation, reports the Observer.