PEORIA – Former Republican Congressman from Peoria, Ray LaHood, confirmed on Monday that he supported Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the November presidential election.

LaHood served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation during President Barack Obama’s first term and worked closely with then-Vice President Biden.

“We have become friends,” LaHood said on Monday. “I admire his leadership. I admire his years of public service. I admire the fact that he has presented a very strong agenda to end the coronavirus and get people back to work, fix a broken immigration system and try to get our finances in order.

“So that was an easy and easy selection for me. “

LaHood, who supported Biden throughout the Democratic primaries, was on a list posted on Twitter of several Republicans who support Biden Monday, the first day of the GOP national convention.

LaHood’s son, Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, is one of the delegates to the Illinois convention for President Donald Trump.

“Darin and I are very close. We talk every day, ”said Ray LaHood. “We just have a different opinion on the future leadership of our country.”

Ray LaHood said he believes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic impact have revealed the need for a change in leadership.

“The country’s problems are not solved,” he said. “We have the highest unemployment rate in the history of the country that can be remembered, certainly I can remember – hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. The coronavirus has not been resolved and people are very, very worried. Many small businesses have closed.

“We need leadership. We need a plan. We need a vision. And I believe Vice President Biden really delivers that.

Ray LaHood said he worked closely with Biden on the infrastructure portion of the Obama administration, securing a $ 48 billion stimulus package in 2009. He said his friendship with Biden continued after leaving the Department of Transportation after Obama’s first term.

“I think he’s really going to transform the country, bring the country together and solve some of these huge, huge problems that we have,” LaHood said.

Joe Deacon is a reporter for WCBU IN Peoria.

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