Raymond H. "Ray" LaHood (born December 6, 1945) is a Republican politician from Illinois who is currently the United States Secretary of Transportation, having served since 2009. Previously, he represented the Illinois's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms (1995–2009).
LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Mary A. LaHood (née Vogel), who was of German ancestry, and Edward M. LaHood, a Lebanese American who managed a restaurant. He graduated from Spalding Institute, worked his way through Canton Junior College and Bradley University in Peoria, earning a Bachelors of Science in education and sociology in 1971.
Following graduation, he taught junior high school social studies at public and Catholic schools, and has said that "teaching kids ... about the constitution and government" stirred his interest in politics.