Outgoing Winter Park Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica is being talked about as a possible secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in President-elect Donald Trump‘s administration.
Mica, who lost Tuesday’s election, ending his 24-year congressional career, has made his mark both nationally and in Central Florida primarily through programs involving trains, planes, ship ports, and highways. And Orlando area officials are excited about the prospect.
Sources told FloridaPolitics.com that Mica’s name is being floated by Trump’s transition team, and that the congressman is interested in the job, but has not heard anything definitive.
Mica declined Friday to comment to FloridaPolitics.com about the prospect.
Orange County Republican Chairman Lew Oliver said he spoke directly to Mica about it and said the congressman indicated he had heard indirectly — but not directly — that he was on a Trump list for the post, and that he is interested.
But Oliver added, “I am certain no one knows for sure.”
“You’d struggle to find anyone more qualified,” Oliver said. And he added, “It would be a godsend for Central Florida.”
The Orlando area’s chief transportation planner, Harry Barley, executive director of MetroPlan Orlando, agreed. He said he had no knowledge of whether Trump is considering Mica, but said if it’s true, it would be a good idea for Central Florida.
Mica has spent much of his congressional career dealing in transportation issues.
He is a former chair of the House Transportation Committee. He’s currently chairman of the House Committee for Government Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, and is a member of the Transportation Committee and its subcommittees for aviation; for highways and transit; and for railroads, pipelines, and hazardous materials.
Mica is widely credited as being key to bringing federal support and money to Florida for transportation infrastructure including SunRail, the I-4 expansion, high-tech street and highway traffic control systems, Orlando International Airport’s train station and international terminal, and sea ports expansions.
Mica was defeated Tuesday by Democrat Stephanie Murphy in the contest for Florida’s 7th Congressional District, covering Seminole County and north Orange County.
Murphy has had little to say since her upset victory.
Mica said Friday he was busy trying to thank everyone and help find placements for his staff, and otherwise not committing to whether his future would be in the private or public sector.
Oliver argued there’s another reason Mica might get serious consideration from Trump: Mica was an early and consistent supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign. And Mica got hammered for it during his own campaign, as Murphy and her supporters attacked Mica by trying to link him to some of the more objectionable statements and positions from Trump.
“He took a fairly early and aggressive position to support Donald Trump, and he took the hits for it,” Oliver said.