Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ex-governor considered for job of U.S. transportation secretary

July 11, 2006


If former Kansas Gov. Bill Graves is a front-runner for the job of Transportation Secretary in the Bush Administration, he's keeping quiet about it.

"We've seen the reports, and we're just not commenting on speculation," said Tiffany Wlazlowski, spokeswoman for the American Trucking Assn.

Graves currently serves as the association's CEO and lobbyist.

According to Reuters, The Washington Post and other media sources, Graves is considered the front-runner to replace outgoing Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

Mineta resigned in June and was the only Democrat in the Bush administration.

Sources quoted in the Reuters story say the administration considered Graves a strong candidate for the Cabinet position.

Graves was governor from 1995 to 2003, and he previously served as Secretary of State in Kansas beginning in 1990.

During his eight-year tenure as governor, Graves convened a transportation study group, which led to the passage of the state's second Comprehensive Transportation Program in 1999. The program set out to improve transportation infrastructure.

Here in Kansas, Tom Whitaker said when it comes to transportation issues, Graves has the knowledge any administration would want.

Whitaker, executive director of the Kansas Motor Carriers Assn., said the association has been close to the Graves family since at least the 1930s.

"He's been involved in transportation since he was knee-high," Whitaker said.

Graves' father was a founder of the Graves trucking line, a family business based in Salina.

He said since Graves took over the ATA, the organization had improved greatly. The ATA Web site touts boosts in lobbying efforts for highway bills and advances in truck fleet safety.

"He's really turned that organization around because of his leadership," Whitaker said.

At the Kansas branch of the ATA, Whitaker said he has noticed the organization's turnaround since Graves took the helm nationally. The improvements have been so significant that Whitaker said he'd rather not see Graves leave his current post.

"Frankly, we'd rather him stay and continue what he's done here at the association," he said.


staff04 11 years, 10 months ago

I think Graves has too many qualifications for a job in this Administration...unless they want to make him Secretary of Defense or something like that...

Ken Miller 11 years, 10 months ago

Excellent choice - if there is one shining success that Gov. Graves can point to during his time in office, it's the Comprehensive Transportation Program that he shepherded through the Legislature in 1999. All you have to do is drive around Missouri a bit to know how much better we have it in Kansas, from a highway perspective.

Godot 11 years, 10 months ago

Shining example of the Peter Principle.

penguin 11 years, 10 months ago

The same Comprehensive Transportation Program that was based on untrustworthy economic projections and really hurt during the years when tax receipts were dropping. The fact that he is being offered this position so far into the second term is kind of sad. Many felt that he would have this position in 2000, but well now seems as good of a time as any to cough up something to a Kansas Republican...just as the state party is trying to eat itself alive.

I do not doubt that Kansas roads are good too bad the same can't be said of other areas of public interest (schools, universities, etc.).

Ken Miller 11 years, 10 months ago

No doubt, the program NOR the Governor were perfect. But the proof is in the comparative pudding - Kansas has better roads and infrastructure than most states. As far as the timing of the potential Cabinet post offer - hey, better late than never. As far as the Kansas GOP - perhaps Graves' move to DC to take a national post with the ATA is another result of a state political party trying its best to squander its proven historical advantages.

dizzy_from_your_spin 11 years, 10 months ago

This is dang near as looney as thinking no-plan, photo-op Sebelius would make a creditable US representative, senator or vice president.

johngalt 11 years, 10 months ago

Yes, the massive tax increase needed for the spending and borrowing in the 1999 highway program have really helped out the state economy.

As long as we are telling antecdotes, I drove to Branson recently and the Missouri roads were great - as good as Kasnas.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.