CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A White House spokesman said Sunday that President Barack Obama plans to name Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as his new transportation secretary on Monday.
Foxx’s nomination to the post is seen as an effort to increase the number of minorities serving in Obama’s cabinet. Attorney General Eric Holder is the only African-American currently serving among Obama’s cabinet secretaries.
The announcement comes after Foxx, who led the Charlotte’s hosting of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, said this month he would not seek a third term as mayor.
The White House, according to McClatchy Newspapers’ Franco Ordoñez, said Foxx has firsthand knowledge of important transportation issues and has proven his ability to integrate local, state and federal resources to build transportation in the Queen City. Officials have praised Foxx’s support of Charlotte’s streetcar project, the expansion of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and the planned extension of the city’s light-rail system.
Foxx was first elected to City Council in 2005, where he served until his election as mayor in 2009. He was the first Democratic mayor in over 20 years, the youngest Charlotte mayor and the city’s second African-American mayor. He was re-elected as mayor in 2011.
LGBT ally, but silent on marriage
In his time in office, Foxx has been seen as supportive of LGBT equality initiatives, though he has taken a largely silent role in efforts to advance them.
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. He was also the first mayor to offer regular welcome letters to LGBT events in the city.
Foxx also spoke out against Amendment One, the state constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex marriages passed by voters in May 2012.
Yet, Foxx has not been outspoken on other LGBT issues. 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. The last time the city council voted on a stand-alone LGBT measure was in November 1992, when it defeated an inclusive public accommodations measure.
If confirmed, Foxx would oversee the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 60,000 employees and report directly to President Obama, who announced his support for full marriage equality last May.
qnotes has reached out to both Foxx’s press secretary and White House press officials for comment. Stay tuned for more updates.
— McClatchy Newspapers’ Franco Ordoñez contributed. Read more on Foxx’s nomination at The Charlotte Observer.