Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood (born December 6 1945), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1995, representing downstate (map). He has gained national notoriety, especially among C-SPAN viewers, as the presiding officer of more debates than any other member. Most notably, he presided over the impeachment vote against President Bill Clinton.
He was born in Peoria, Illinois and was educated at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, from which he earned a degree in education. He was a high school teacher teacher, director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau, and an aide to Representatives Tom Railsback and Robert Michel before entering politics. He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for one term between 1982 and 1983. He is of Lebanese descent, as are Senator John E. Sununu, Representatives Darrell Issa and Charles Boustany, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. LaHood is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.
In 2006, LaHood beat veteran Steve Waterworth by a margin of 147,108 (67%) to 71,106 (33%).
A strong advocate for advancing the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, LaHood authored a law that established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which lay the groundwork for celebrating the 16th president's 200th birthday in 2009. He also has been a lead Capitol Hill supporter for the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield and is one of 15 members on the ALBC.
In 2007 LaHood was considered for candidacy to become the president of his alma mater Bradley University, following the departure of David Broski. However, LaHood decided against applying for the position
He supported the move to invest $700 billion in Wall Street to aid the economy in October 2008.
On July 26, 2007, LaHood stated he will not seek re-election in 2008 and will retire when his current term expires in January 2009.