Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Neil Goldschmidt (1979–1981): Secretary of Transportation

Neil Goldschmidt was born in Eugene, Oregon, in 1940, attending the University of Oregon and earning a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1964, he worked on the Freedom Summer Campaign in Mississippi and as a legal aid attorney in Portland from 1967 to 1969. He was Portland city commissioner from 1971 to 1973, and he served as mayor of the city from 1973 to 1979.

Goldschmidt served as secretary of transportation under President Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1981. Following his stint in the Carter cabinet, Goldschmidt worked for Nike, Inc., and served on the board of various companies, including Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and National Semiconductor. He then ran for and won Oregon's 1986 gubernatorial race, serving as the state's top public official from 1987 to 1991.

Following his time in as governor, Goldschmidt founded the Oregon's Children Foundation. Thereafter, he worked on transportation issues facing the state and in a law practice specializing in international business.