Ray LaHood became the 16th Secretary of Transportation in January 2009 and in that capacity he serves as an ex officio member of the Amtrak Board of Directors. Prior to this, Secretary LaHood served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Congressman from Illinois. He also served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Robert Michel and as District Administrative Assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback and served in the Illinois State Legislature. Before his career in government, Secretary LaHood was a high school teacher and was a Director at Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau and Chief Planner for the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission in Illinois. He is a graduate of Bradley University.