Politics

Chao Tasked with Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure

President-elect picks former labor secretary to head Department of Transportation

President-Elect Donald Trump will nominate Elaine Chao to be secretary of the Department of Transportation.

Chao was the former secretary of the Labor Department under President George W. Bush, from 2001 to 2009. At the time, she became the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Cabinet.

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She is also the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader from Kentucky. They married in 1993.

It’s the second time in recent history that a transportation secretary, who has also served as labor secretary, will be married to a senate majority leader.

Republican Elizabeth Dole served as transportation secretary from 1983 to 1987 under President Ronald Reagan while her husband, Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), was Senate majority leader. In 1989, Dole become President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of labor.

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Chao, born in Taiwan, earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School, and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College, according to a biography posted to her website.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Chao’s appointment is that her department will be a major focus of infrastructure rebuilding. Trump promised to rebuild and add roads, bridges, and airports.

But McConnell is wary of more infrastructure spending without offsets. The Senate majority leader told reporters after the election that infrastructure spending is not a top priority for the Republican Congress.

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Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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