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Calling him “one of the most effective mayors Charlotte has ever seen,” President Obama introduced Anthony Foxx as his nominee to lead the Department of Transportation. Foxx has been the mayor of North Carolina’s largest city since 2009.

“The city has managed to turn things around,” Obama said. “The economy is growing. There are more jobs, more opportunity. And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history.”

Foxx will replace former Republican congressman Ray LaHood, a man who was elected to the House as part of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” freshman class. The current secretary was effusive in his praise for both the president and job the president gave him to do.

“I think the crowning glory for the president — and he is going to have many legacies, but his transportation legacy — will be high-speed rail in America, bringing passenger rail all over America,” LaHood said before Obama introduced Foxx.

“Let me tell you what I mean by that. I visited 18 countries in the past 4 1/2 years. The common thread throughout every country is a national vision, national leadership, national commitment. And that’s what the president provided over the last 4 1/2 years. What he said to America is we know you want a different kind of transportation. And Lincoln started the rail system in America. Obama has started high-speed rail in America,” he said. “What a great legacy.”

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