03/23/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Michelle Obama Debuts New Hair, Delivers Pep Talk At Transportation Department (SLIDESHOW)

WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama said Friday that the work of the Transportation Department touches the lives of every American and it will play a vital role in stimulating the country's economy.

Mrs. Obama also touted improvements in infrastructure that she said will come due to the $787 billion economic stimulus package her husband signed into law this week.

"Every day, you carry out the business of keeping America moving," Mrs. Obama told the agency's employees. "And now that President Obama has signed the Economic Recovery Plan into law, you will also help carry out the business of getting our economy moving again as well."

The first lady delivered the pep talk to federal workers, part of her tour of departments and agencies to thank employees for their work.


Michelle Obama

As she spoke briefly to a crowd of employees in the department's atrium, other workers peered out windows from the floors above her to watch.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood introduced Mrs. Obama and commented on their mutual Illinois ties. LaHood served 14 years as a Republican congressman for Illinois; the first lady is a native of the state.

"Your visit sends a clear signal to all of us that we matter," LaHood told her.

Mrs. Obama said she and the president appreciate the commitment and sacrifice public servants make at their jobs, which is one reason she has decided to visit each agency.

The first lady has also greeted workers at the departments of Education, Interior and Housing and Urban Development. On Thursday, she stopped at the Agriculture Department to hand over a seedling from a magnolia tree on the White House lawn.

"Just know that we value you, that America values you," Mrs. Obama said at Friday's stop. "And together, we can get this country moving again."