When President Obama announced Monday that he’s nominating Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be his new transportation secretary, he might have ushered in a mini youth invasion. If confirmed, the 42- year-old Foxx will be the baby of the Obama Cabinet — and he’ll become one of the younger cabinet secretaries in history. (Obama made the announcement, coincidentally, on Foxx’s 42nd birthday, which is a pretty nice present.)
Presidential Cabinets tend to skew slightly old, mostly because presidents draw from an experienced talent pool for those top-ranking jobs. And some secretaries come from the ranks of Washington’s most exclusive gray-haired club, the Senate.
Foxx, though, is an exception. He’s only two years older than Andrew Cuomo was when President Bill Clinton made him HUD Secretary — and Cuomo himself once noted that he was one of the youngest Cabinet secretaries in history.
And you have to stretch even further back in the recesses of time to find other relatively young secretaries. Robert Kennedy was practically a child secretary when he became his brother’s attorney general at the age of 36. Bill Barr was 41 when he was named President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general. Jim Burnley, transportation secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was only 39. Neil Goldschmidt, transportation secretary under Jimmy Carter, also was 39.
Maybe transportation is a young man’s job?