Card has history of service with Bush family
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Andrew Card, the former transportation secretary George W. Bush has tapped to serve as White House chief of staff, is one of handful of potential GOP administration players with longtime ties to the Texas governor's father, former President George Bush.
Card, 53, is the same age as the younger Bush. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1971 with a degree in engineering, he moved to Boston to begin work as a structural design engineer.
Former Transportation Secretary Andy Card waves upon arriving at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas, Monday morning, November 27, 2000.
Card entered the political arena in 1975, after he was elected to the first of four terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. As a young lawmaker, he was one of the earliest supporters of Bush's father, George Bush, in the 1980 presidential campaign eventually won by Ronald Reagan.
Card served as assistant Republican whip in the state legislature before leaving in 1983 to begin a career in Washington. He joined the White House under Reagan as a liaison to the nation's governors and also served as a deputy assistant.
Throughout the decade, Card remained a trusted advisor to the elder Bush, serving as a consultant during the successful 1988 campaign and as liaison to the Republican National Committee. He served the first three years of the Bush administration as deputy chief of staff.
Card worked behind the scenes to help secure Bush's cabinet and judicial nominations, including those of Supreme Court Justices David Souter and Clarence Thomas, before he was himself tapped to become transportation secretary during the administration's final year.
Card's supporters praised his organizational skills and ability to work well with Congress, and also credited him with keeping the White House running smoothly during the turmoil surrounding the resignation of Chief of Staff John Sununu.
But many in the transportation industry expressed disappointment at the selection, viewed by them as nothing more than a reward for years of political loyalty.
"The public is the loser," Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said after the Senate confirmed Card's nomination. "He just doesn't seem to have the experience we hoped for."
After Bush was defeated in 1992, Card remained active in transportation policy as a lobbyist for American Automobile Manufacturers Association. He later served as board member of General Motors, directing the automaker's government affairs activities.
He returned to a more prominent role in the public spotlight in Spring 2000, when he announced an unpaid "unambiguous temporary leave" from GM to serve as co-chairman of the Republican National Convention.
"I am a passionate supporter of Governor Bush's initiatives and his leadership, and that is independent of the tremendous and absolute respect I have for his dad," Card told reporters.
"It's a great privilege and a great honor" to be picked for the chief of staff's slot, Card told reporters in Austin as he entered the Texas Capitol to begin work on a much-disputed transition of power from the Clinton administration.