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Rodney E. Slater facts for kids

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Rodney Slater
Slater rodney.jpg
13th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
February 14, 1997 – January 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Federico Peña
Succeeded by Norman Mineta
Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration
In office
June 3, 1993 – February 14, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Thomas D. Larson
Succeeded by Kenneth R. Wykle
Personal details
Rodney Earl Slater

(1955-02-23) February 23, 1955 (age 69)
Marianna, Arkansas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Eastern Michigan University (BA)
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (JD)

Rodney Earl Slater (born February 23, 1955) is an American politician of the Democratic Party who served as the United States Secretary of Transportation under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. Prior to being appointed to the Clinton Cabinet, Slater served as the administrator of the Federal Highway Administration from 1993 to 1997.


Slater graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1977, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1980.

Early career

Slater became a research assistant to the State Judiciary Committee of the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 1979–80, an assistant attorney general for the state of Arkansas in 1980. He was appointed to several state government positions in Arkansas by Bill Clinton. Positions included assistant to the governor between 1983 and 1987, and member of the Arkansas State Highway Commission between 1987 and 1993. Slater was also the director of governmental affairs for Arkansas State University during that time.

Appointment to federal positions

President Clinton meeting with advisers on Air Force One
Rodney Slater on Air Force One with President Clinton in 1999.

After Clinton was elected president, 1993 Slater became the first African-American Director of the Federal Highway Administration.

In 1997, Slater was appointed to be the Secretary of Transportation. He was the second African American to hold that post.


Slater was able to muster bipartisan support in congress for his projects including:

  • Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), making a record $200 billion investment in surface transportation.
  • Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21), which provides a record $46 billion to provide safety and security of the nation's aviation system
  • Negotiated of 40 Open skies agreements with other countries

Private sector

Slater is part of a group of investors headed by Stan Kasten that successfully purchased the Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals.

Slater is a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, where he is head of the transportation practice and works on projects related to the transportation infrastructure. He is also a partner in James Lee Witt Associates, a risk management firm headed by former Federal Emergency Management Agency director James Lee Witt.

He serves on the board of directors of Africare, a nonprofit providing development aid to countries in Africa, and The Dance Theater of Harlem, and is the chair of the Board of Trustees of United Way. Slater also serves on the corporate board of Verizon. He served on the board of Northwest Airlines, continuing on with Delta Air Lines after their merger in 2008. He has been appointed to join the board of WS Atkins as a non-executive director effective 9 September 2011.

As of December 3, 2014 Slater was appointed to serve as special counsel to Takata Corporation in support of Takata's dealings on the 2013 airbag recall issues they are facing. They will advise the Company as they address the current challenges Takata faces. He also led a safety advisory panel for Toyota and served as independent monitor for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

See also

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