Current Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s, youngest son, Sam, is among 10 American and European citizens denied permission to leave Egypt. I was instantly taken back to the day when Sam, our next-door neighbor (then aged about five), wandered down our court one day, while the family down the street was at the cemetery burying a family member. When the family returned and entered their unlocked house, they found little “Sammy,” who had climbed up on the counter-top to help himself to a snack. “Sammy” was a darling little guy and has grown into a handsome young man who was married to new wife Katie on September 5, 2011, in Bermuda.
Transportation Secretary LaHood told the (Moline, IL) Dispatch (Jan. 27, 2012, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services) that his son’s detention is “absolutely an escalation. It’s de facto detention.” Last month, Egyptian officials raided Sam LaHood’s Cairo offices where he was director of the Washington-based International Republican Institute’s Egyptian program. This week, Egyptian newspapers announced that as many as forty foreigners were to appear in court next month on charges of “illicit foreign funding.” The move detaining so many foreign nationals is viewed as a crackdown on foreign pro-democracy groups by the generals in power.
When the LaHood family lived near us in East Moline, Illinois, Sam’s father, Ray LaHood, was director of the Rock Island County Youth Service Bureau and served for three years as chief planner at the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission, (now called the Bi-State Regional Commission.) The elder LaHood, a Republican, also worked for former U.S. Representatives Tom Railsback and Bob Michel before serving in the House for 14 years from Peoria. LaHood has announced plans to retire at the end of Obama’s first term.
Ray LaHood’s oldest son, Darin, was appointed to the Illinois State Senate on February 27, 2010, and took office on March 1, 2010, the day after incumbent Dale Risinger retired from representing the seven-county thirty-seventh legislative district in Illinois.