Race Heats Up For Next Head Of FAA

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Although Duane Woerth, a former president of the Air Line Pilots Association, has long been considered a strong contender to take over as next FAA administrator, Senate aide Robert Herbert seems to be making headway, the Washington Post reported on Monday. Herbert is an advisor to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, and specializes in transportation, defense and security issues. Woerth is backed by the AFL-CIO. Senator Reid has sent a letter to the Obama transition team expressing support for Herbert, according to the Post. Also, Herbert met last Thursday with Ray LaHood, on the same day he was appointed Transportation Secretary. Relations between unions and the FAA have long been contentious, and LaHood has said that settling those issues will be a top priority for him.

Herbert may gain from delay, says Post columnist Al Kamen. "Each day, the administration is going to find things to ask Reid's help on, and Reid, by coincidence, might find it opportune to ask how his pal Herbert is doing with that FAA job," says Kamen.