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Source: Obama tags LaHood for transportation

A senior Democratic official says President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Republican Congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois to be his transportation secretary.
/ Source: The Associated Press

President-elect Barack Obama intends to name lawmaker Ray LaHood of Illinois as his transportation secretary, a Democratic official said Wednesday, adding a second Republican to his Cabinet-in-the-making.

The official disclosed the selection of LaHood after the president-elect announced former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado to head the Interior Department.

LaHood, 63, is stepping down from his congressional seat after 14 years in Congress.

He has been at the forefront of efforts to make the floor of the House of Representatives less partisan.

The official who disclosed LaHood's selection as transportation secretary did so on condition of anonymity because the Obama team did not authorize the disclosure.

LaHood, Vilsack and Salazar must receive Senate confirmation before taking their posts.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, whom Obama asked to remain in office, is the other Republican tapped so far for the incoming Cabinet.

The selections came as Obama worked on completing his Cabinet, possibly in advance of a year-end holiday vacation in Hawaii with his family.

He has yet to announce choices for the Labor Department, senior intelligence positions or the Office of U.S. Trade Representative.

In addition, numerous sub-Cabinet posts remain unfilled.

Knowlegeable officials say Dr. Gail Rosseau, a Chicago neurosurgeon, is among the final contenders to become surgeon general. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss the appointment.