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Updated: McDonnell to announce Connaughton as transportation secretary

Anita Kumar

Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell is expected to announce Tuesday that former Prince William County Board of Supervisors chairman Sean Connaughton will serve as his transportation secretary, several sources close to McDonnell said Monday.

McDonnell (R) has scheduled a noon news conference in Richmond to announce what will be one of his most important Cabinet choices. He will also name his picks for secretaries of agriculture and administration.

Connaughton, 48, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2005, but lost to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling. (McDonnell is said to have sought -- and received -- Bolling's blessing before offering Connaughton the job.) He served as the head of the U.S. Maritime Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, from 2006 to early this year, and now works as the corporate vice president of government affairs for the American Bureau of Shipping.

Calls to Connaughton were not returned. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin declined to comment.

McDonnell had expected to announce Connaughton's selection last Thursday, but waited until this week, when he could announce two more Cabinet appointments. The incoming governor prefers to announce at least two names at a time so as not to lend too much importance to any one.

But no matter how you look at it, transportation is one of the most important Cabinet secretaries for any Virginia governor -- but especially now. McDonnell has promised to find money for transportation (which the current governor and General Assembly have not had much luck doing) using proposals that some find controversial, including privatizing liquor stores). Meanwhile, the state has less and less money and more and more needs.

For those who are not keeping track, but want us to do that for you, we are still waiting on announcements from McDonnell for the following: Technology, Education, Natural Resources and Commonwealth Preparedness.

In the past few weeks, McDonnell has announced that Bolling will take on a new, Cabinet-level role as Chief Jobs Creation Officer, respected businessman Robert Sledd will serve as Secretary of Commerce and Trade and that longtime aide Janet Polarek will become Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Other appointments McDonnell has announced: Deputy attorney general Martin Kent will be his chief of staff, Secretary of Finance Ric Brown will continue to serve in his current job for an undetermined period of time, Marla Decker, assistant attorney general, will serve as secretary of public safety, lobbyist Eric Finkbeiner will be senior advisor for policy (which will be made into a Cabinet-level position) and longtime spokesman Tucker Martin will be director of communications.

-- Anita Kumar

By Anita Kumar  |  December 21, 2009; 7:42 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Robert F. McDonnell , Transportation  
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When will Pat Robertson get his post announced? I heard the death of Oral Roberts really put a hole in Bob's staffing plan for the cabinet.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | December 22, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

"Chief Jobs Creation Officer!" Another fantastic political title for a elected official with no powers. As for Connaughton, he is already a proven loser.

This should be an interesting administration. I want to see how deep they will cut before they realize that the previous administration has cut to the bone. LOL when you are forced to raise taxes. "Read my lips, no new taxes." The wingnuts will just raise the taxes we already have because it will be necessary.

Posted by: mortified469 | December 22, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

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