Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune

Jill Zuckman, a Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent and frequent guest on political talk shows such as MSNBC’s “Hardball” and Fox Broadcasting’s “Fox News Sunday,” is leaving to join President Barack Obama’s administration in the Department of Transportation.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Peoria Republican and former seven-term member of the U.S. House, has picked Zuckman to serve as assistant to the secretary and director of public affairs.

“I’m so excited about this. I think this is going to be really fun,” Zuckman said by phone Sunday. “I’m excited about going to a department in the administration that’s going to play a huge role in hopefully putting people back to work. There is so much money for transportation projects around the country, and I hope that that helps to stimulate the economy to get the country moving again.”

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