Washington — Secretary of Transportation Drew Lewis has become the third member of President Reagan's original Cabinet to resign, Monitor correspondent Peter Grier reports. On Feb. 1 Lewis will become chief executive officer of Warner Amex, a cable TV and communications firm.
Unlike the other departed Cabinet officers - the low-profile James Edwards of the Energy Department, and mercurial Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig - Lewis is leaving with his political reputation still on the rise.
Secretary of transportation is not usually a glamorous post, but Lewis has directed the Reagan administration efforts on several highly visible political initiatives.
When air traffic controllers walked off the job in August 1981, Lewis appeared on US TV screens almost every night, taking a tough line against strikers' demands and reassuring the public about the safety of the skies.
Lewis was also the driving force behind the 5-cent-a-gallon gasoline tax just passed by Congress. He pushed for the measure almost from the moment he took office, labeling it a ''user fee'' to help overcome President Reagan's initial opposition.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said Tuesday President Reagan hopes to name Lewis's successor by Feb. 1.