Former Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood is expected to count on nonpartisan career staff if he is confirmed as Secretary of Transportation. His nomination took some observers by surprise, but many experts agree that he is qualified for the job. "Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant I am asking to lead the Department of Transportation -- Ray LaHood," President-elect Barack Obama said at a news conference last month. "Throughout his career, Ray has fought to improve mass transit and invest in our highways."

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