Transportation Secretary Foxx to tour auto show

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will visit the Detroit auto show Thursday, as part of the Obama administration’s effort to highlight innovation in transportation technology and the importance of investing in climate-friendly infrastructure, the White House said.

Foxx last toured the North American International Auto Show in 2014, when he opened the show’s press preview days.

Foxx will visit Detroit about a week before President Barack Obama is expected at the show on Jan. 20, in part to celebrate the city’s revival and the bounce-back of auto industry since the $85 billion auto industry bailout.

Obama’s trip will include highlighting the more than 640,000 auto-industry jobs created since the bailout and the record auto sales of 2015, White House spokesman Keith Maley said Friday. It will be Obama’s first visit to the auto show.

Another cabinet member, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, will travel to Dearborn and Detroit Wednesday to host a roundtable with resettled refugees. He’ll host a discussion with interfaith student groups at the University of Michigan at Dearborn about his agency’s efforts to engage local communities in the effort to counter violent extremism.

The Foxx and Johnson visits are part of a “road tour” by members of Obama’s cabinet in the days following his final State of the Union address Tuesday night — an effort to draw attention to advancements made by the administration on important issues and challenges it faces.

A Syrian civil engineer who recently resettled in Troy and whose story of escaping his war-torn homeland drew Obama’s attention last month will be a special guest of the president at Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Refaai Hamo, who arrived in Michigan in December, will be seated in first lady Michelle Obama’s box in the House chamber during Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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