Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations, said he’s not interested in becoming the next U.S. transportation secretary, putting to rest speculation that he’s a top candidate for the job. Graves told ATA’s board of directors Wednesday, July 12, that he is committed to staying on as head of the trade group.
“While I am flattered to be included in any list the White House may be considering for this important position, I want to assure you that I am very pleased and happy serving as your president and CEO,” Graves said in a written statement to the board. Graves had been listed in published reports as a possible successor to departing Secretary Norman Mineta.
While Graves had hinted earlier this week that he was not interested in the cabinet position, he had not expressly ruled himself out. But the former Kansas governor told the ATA board that he plans to abide by a five-year contract extension he signed in February. “I want you to know that I enthusiastically stand by the commitment I made to you in February and look forward to continuing my leadership role with the American Trucking Associations,” Graves said. “I am confident that the president will nominate an outstanding candidate for Secretary of Transportation, and I look forward to joining you as we work with the next secretary. Further, I look forward to working with the president on his economic agenda, and I stand ready to assist his next secretary in any way that I can.”
Mineta, who announced his resignation in June, was the longest-serving transportation secretary and the only Democrat in Bush’s Cabinet. Other candidates mentioned for Mineta’s job include Mineta’s top assistant, Maria Cino; Marion Blakey, current head of the Federal Aviation Administration; current Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao; current Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and former congressman and University of Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne.