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Remarks Announcing the Nominations of James H. Burnley IV To Be Secretary and Mary Ann Weyforth Dawson To Be Deputy Secretary of Transportation

October 08, 1987

The President. I'm delighted to announce today my nominee for the post of Secretary of Transportation, James Burnley. Jim came to Washington in 1981, where he first served as Director of VISTA and then went to the Justice Department as an Associate Deputy Attorney General. He then moved over to Transportation where he served first as General Counsel and then Deputy Secretary. Now, obviously, this sort of upward mobility represents a remarkable Washington success story. In just a few short years, Jim has moved from being a prominent North Carolina trial lawyer to a United States Cabinet nominee, and there's certainly a reason for this success. Jim's had a longtime interest in and solid grasp of public policy.

Since his days in the Yale University Political Union—where, by the way, he reminds me he had to listen to a speech from a certain newly elected Governor of California— [laughter] —Jim has shown not just sound political instincts—he also belonged to the Conservative Party in the Union-but a desire to enter public service and influence our national life. Add to his grasp of public policy his personal integrity and easy manner, and you can understand how he earned his reputation as both a sound policymaker and excellent administrator.

I'm also delighted to tell you today that Mimi Dawson is our nominee for Deputy Secretary of Transportation. Mimi, too, brings considerable experience and is a remarkable success story. She worked on the Hill for 11 years. Before leaving, she worked closely on the agenda for the Senate Commerce Committee, which as you know has responsibility for transportation. Since 1981 Mimi has been a member of the FCC, where she's been a leading expert on common carrier issues, particularly deregulation of the telecommunications marketplace, including the economic effect of mergers and acquisitions. And Jim, I'm sure you feel fortunate, as do I, to have an individual with Mimi's wide-ranging background and solid accomplishments as second in command at DOT.

I know that Jim and Mimi will push ahead even further on such critical issues as airline safety, privatization of public transportation, space commercialization and industry, and general transportation safety. And that list represents a tall order for both of them. But with the continued help of all of you here, I have no doubt that together we will prevail.

Jim, you're on.

Mr. Burnley. Mr. President, I'm deeply honored by your decision to nominate me to serve as the next Secretary of Transportation, and I am also very pleased that you will simultaneously be submitting Mimi Dawson's nomination to replace me as Deputy Secretary.

The only constant in transportation in recent years has been the rate of very rapid change. Twenty percent of our gross national product is generated by transportation, and our expanding economy depends on continuing dynamic growth in our transportation industries. Thus, even with the progress that the administration and Congress have made in the last 6 years, we still face many transportation challenges in this country. We have a very strong team at the Department and a solid foundation as a result of the farsighted leadership of your former Secretaries, Elizabeth Dole and Drew Lewis. And I'm looking forward to the opportunity to consult and work cooperatively with both the Congress and the transportation community to ensure the safest, most efficient transportation system possible.

Ms. Dawson. Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to say how deeply honored I have been over the last 6 years to serve you as a member of the Federal Communications Commission. We have dealt with a lot of very difficult issues there, and I think they helped me to be able to offer to Jim Burnley an opportunity to bring him a great deal of help in the many serious, challenging issues which face us at the Department of Transportation. I look forward to this challenge, and I'll look forward to working with many of you and, of course, with Members of Congress and, most of all, my new boss. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:02 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House to a group of Department of Transportation employees.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Announcing the Nominations of James H. Burnley IV To Be Secretary and Mary Ann Weyforth Dawson To Be Deputy Secretary of Transportation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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