Seeking Bipartisanship: My Life in Politics

by Ray LaHood with Frank H. Mackaman


"To understand Washington today and to see the impact of unbridled partisanship, read this book. Over more than two decades, Ray LaHood battled the forces of hyper-partisanship that have produced gridlock in Washington. He paid a price in his own 14-year career as a Republican in the House of Representatives. Undaunted, he joined President Obama’s Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation in 2009—four and a half years later, however, he left the administration, his successes tempered by the on-going standoff between a partisan Congress and a partisan White House. Ray LaHood tried to inject a common sense, bipartisan approach to facing the nation’s challenges. It was an uphill fight, and his insight helps explain what must change in our politics today.” – John Dingell, U.S. House of Representatives, 1955-2015

"No one is better positioned than Ray LaHood to tell the story of why relationships within Congress have broken down in these last decades and what needs to be done to fix the system. A veteran political moderate who fought the good fight throughout his career, LaHood is a skilled storyteller, making the reader feel as if he is in the midst of the battles on the floor and in the cloakroom. This is a thoroughly entertaining memoir as well as an important one.” – Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian

“Ray LaHood succeeded me in the House, and I could not be prouder. As his book makes clear, Ray earned the respect of Democrats and Republicans by the way he conducted himself and by his efforts to foster good will among members, particularly in the House. I found his account of the four “civility retreats” he helped to organize compelling and disheartening at the same time. I can only wish that his approach to politics and public service could be emulated throughout Congress today. He did one whale of a job for his district and for the country.” – Robert H. Michel, U.S House of Representatives, 1957-1995

“Bipartisanship can work, and it should work better. Ray and I did it in Congress. My relationship with Ray is proof of that. He is a Republican; I am a Democrat. He came from downstate; I represented Chicago. He is a Lebanese American; I am a Jewish American. He supported John McCain in 2008; I supported Barack Obama. Despite all of this, we did not let what separated us prevent us from developing a great friendship. If we could work together, and we did, anything is possible. This much-needed book—not only for American politics but also for the American people and all who believe in democracy—is a brilliant account of how we can and should seek bipartisanship. It presents an important part of American history—when Democrats and Republicans reached across the aisle.” – Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago

"There is something about the Peoria/Pekin area of Illinois that produces great statesmen: Everett Dirksen, Bob Michel, and Ray LaHood. LaHood's public service, as a key staff member to Michel, a longtime member of the House himself, and as Secretary of Transportation, reflected a fierce commitment to bipartisanship and a desire to make policy and solve problems for his constituents and the nation. His new book, written with Frank Mackaman, underscores those commitments and reflects on the seminal events that characterized and shaped a model career in public service. If we had more Ray LaHoods, we would not be so concerned about the deep, tribal dysfunction that now characterizes our politics.” – Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research


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