New U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will speak during the opening session of the 46th Annual Mid-West Truckers Association Convention on Feb. 6.

The opening session is the first event of the convention at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Ill.

LaHood's appointment as Transportation Secretary by President Obama and last week's Senate confirmation come at a crucial time as federal and state governments tackle a long list of transportation issues critical to the trucking and transportation industries. LaHood is a Peoria native and served 14 years as a member of Congress.

LaHood will be accompanied by Rose McMurray, the acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but contrary to a previous announcement from MTA, she will not be speaking, according to officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation. McMurray has served for 34 years in many positions at the DOT, most recently as chief safety officer of FMCSA.

Other topics that will be addressed during the two-day convention, expected to draw about 7,000 attendees, include getting ready for a DOT audit, drug and alcohol testing, contractual liability, regulatory updates, card check legislation, air disc brakes, sleep apnea, International's 2010 MaxxForce engines, and the Trucker's Pride beauty contest.

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