Letter Accepting the Resignation of Drew L. Lewis as Secretary of Transportation

December 27, 1982

Dear Drew:

It is with great regret that I am accepting your resignation as Secretary of Transportation effective February 1st. However, I respect your wish to take on a major challenge in the private sector.

When I came to Washington two years ago, it was with the intention of forming a Cabinet whose members could advise me on a wide range of issues. With that in mind, I have turned to you on many occasions for advice. In every case, your counsel has been thoughtful and showed a high regard for the public interest. I will miss your wise advice, but I intend to take seriously your offer to serve as a volunteer at my request. You can expect to continue receiving my calls in the future.

The strong leadership you have given as Secretary of Transportation is, of course, well-known. During the air controllers' strike, you acted with both prudence and firmness. You initiated development of a new national airspace system and you carried out the actions necessary to end Federal subsidies for Conrail, beginning the process of returning the railroad to the private sector.

More recently, your determination to focus public attention on the need to repair and maintain our nation's interstate highway and mass transportation systems resulted in the passage of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by the Congress. The passage of this Act is a fitting capstone to your long record of achievement as Secretary.

I know that in the years ahead I will continue to call upon you, but for now, Nancy and I send you and Marilyn our warmest affection and our wishes for every happiness as you return to the private sector.

Sincerely,

Ron

[The Honorable Andrew L. Lewis, Jr., Secretary of Transportation, Washington, D.C. 20590]

December 12, 1982

Dear Mr. President:

After much thought and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it is an appropriate time for me to return to the private sector. I would like to do so, with your permission, on February 1st.

The past three years, one year as a campaign volunteer and two years serving in your Cabinet have been the most gratifying of my life. It has been a great privilege to serve you and to be a part of your Administration. I have the highest regard for you, for your policies and for your leadership. As I have said to many groups on many occasions, ``to serve President Reagan is to serve the best.''

We have, however, accomplished many of the objectives we discussed at the time you first asked me to join the Cabinet. We have brought Conrail to the point where it can be returned to the private sector. A national airspace program has been defined and is underway. Both of these initiatives are close to completion and can be ably consummated by another Secretary.

I am extremely grateful for your support and for your confidence in me in all of our programs and especially during the difficult days of the air traffic controllers strike. As I told many people, even the most difficult problems can be handled when you have the solid backing of the President.

I will be pleased and honored to assist you in any way I can as a volunteer if you wish me to do so. I believe the country would benefit greatly from four more years of your leadership and would like to be involved in the campaign should you choose to run.

Marilyn joins me in expressing our appreciation and in extending our affection to you and to Nancy. We admire you greatly for what you are doing for our country, and we love you for being what you are.

Thank you for allowing me to share in what you are doing for America, and for the privilege of serving in your Administration.

Sincerely,

Drew Lewis

Note: The text of the letters was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 28. Secretary Lewis' letter follows the text of the White House press release.