Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater came to the job with nearly 10 years of experience in transportation oversight. A close friend of President Clinton's, he also had the president's ear. The former Federal Highway Administration chief was roundly supported by the transportation industry and Congress when he was nominated for the job in 1996. Slater's area of expertise is highways.
Sworn in: Feb. 14, 1997 (nominated Dec. 20, 1996, confirmed Feb. 5, 1997)
Succeeded: Federico Peña
Previous occupation: Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, 1993-96; member, Arkansas State Highway Commission, 1987-92 (chairman, 1992); director of governmental relations, Arkansas State University; executive assistant for economic and community programs, state of Arkansas; governor's special assistant for community and minority Affairs; assistant attorney general, litigation division, Arkansas State Attorney General's Office; liaison for the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.
Education: Eastern Michigan University (B.A.), University of Arkansas (law)
Hometown: Marianna, Ark.
Date of Birth: Feb. 23, 1955
Spouse: Cassandra Wilkins
Children: One daughter, Bridgette Josette
Of note: Slater is the 13th U.S. secretary of transportation and the third Arkansan in American history to ever hold a position in the President's Cabinet. Slater also served as deputy campaign manager for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign.
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