© 2023 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Wake Up! Donate $91.90+ to the Year-End Drive and receive the 2023 Murrow Mug. Support continued journalism.

Ray LaHood Still Backing Biden For President

Olivia Mitchell
NPR Illinois

A day after former Vice President Joe Biden finished fifth in the New Hampshire primary, he still had the support of former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

LaHood, once a Republican congressman from Peoria who went to work for the Obama administration, said Wednesday he does not have a second-choice candidate.

He said if Biden can win over diverse states like South Carolina and Nevada, he’ll show he can bring the Democratic Party together.

LaHood also continued to criticize President Donald Trump.

“He’s not my kind of politician,” LaHood said. “The way he disparages people of color, the way he disparaged Sen. McCain who was a friend of mine, even after he passed. He doesn’t distinguish himself for the office he holds.”

Despite that, LaHood said impeachment was a waste of time and energy. He says lawmakers should be focused on immigration and infrastructure.

Finding Executive Director: Top Priority

LaHood spoke to reporters before the annual Abraham Lincoln Association Dinner in Springfield. Late last year he was made chairman of the new board of directors of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

The facility, which is an agency of the state of Illinois, is going on five months without an executive director after Gov. J.B. Pritzker fired Alan Lowe.

That was in part because Lowe circumvented normal procedures in loaning a rare copy of the Gettysburg Address to a foundation run by conservative radio host Glenn Beck.

LaHood said picking a new director for the museum is his top priority.

“Like a lot of people in Springfield, and a lot of Lincoln scholars, people are really disappointed that there have been four executive directors,” he said. “We’re going to try to change that.”

Next week, LaHood and Ray McCaskey, the chairman of the museum’s fundraising foundation, are expected to appoint a committee to begin the search.

Museum officials and board members are also facing a three year deadline to pay off nearly $9 million dollars in debt. The money was used to buy a range of artifacts, including a stovepipe hat that experts are still trying to prove belonged to Lincoln

Olivia Mitchell is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.
Related Stories