Posts Tagged ‘Elaine Chao’

Today’s Dream Team Scouting Report: Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation #ElaineChao #SecretaryOfTransportation #TrumpPresidente

January 4, 2017


  • Born March 26, 1953
  • Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
  • Chao was the first Asian American woman and the first Taiwanese American in U.S. history to be appointed to a U.S. President’s Cabinet.
  • She served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, and Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President George H. W. Bush.
  • Chao is married to Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has been the Senate Majority Leader since 3 January 2015.
  • On 29 November 2016, it was announced that President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Chao to serve as the Secretary of Transportation. 

    Early life and education

  • The eldest of six daughters, Chao was born to Ruth Mulan Chu Chao a historian, and James S.C. Chao, who began his career as a merchant mariner, and founded a successful shipping company in New York City called Foremost Shipping.
  • Chao’s parents had fled to Taiwan from Shanghai after the Chinese Communists took over following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
  • At 8 years old, she came to the US on a freight ship with her mother and 2 sisters. Her father arrived in NYC 3 years earlier after receiving a scholarship.
  • Chao attended Syosset High School in, New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1975, and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979.
  • At Mount Holyoke, she played field hockey, was a member of the horseback riding club, edited the yearbook, served as the student representative for the economics department, and worked as a Mount Holyoke recruiter.
  • Chao has received 36 honorary doctorates, most recently an honorary DHL degree from Georgetown University.


  • Chao was Vice President for syndications at Bank of America Capital Markets Group in San Francisco, California, and an International Banker at Citicorp in New York for four years.
  • She was granted a White House Fellowship in 1983.
  • In 1986, Chao became Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • From 1988 to 1989, she served as Chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission.
  • In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Chao to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation.
  • From 1991 to 1992, she was the Director of the Peace Corps.
  • She was the first Asian Pacific American to serve in any of these positions. She expanded the Peace Corps’s presence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by establishing the first Peace Corps programs in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and other newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
  • Following her service in the government, Chao worked for 4 years as President and CEO of United Way of America. She is credited with returning credibility and public trust in the organization after a financial mismanagement scandal involving former president William Aramony.
  • From 1996 until her appointment as Secretary of Labor, Chao was a Distinguished Fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
  • She was also a board member of the Independent Women’s Forum. She returned to the Heritage Foundation after leaving the government in January 2009.
  • Chao was the only cabinet member in the George W. Bush administration to serve for the entirety of his eight years.[19] She was also the longest-serving Secretary of Labor since Frances Perkins, who served from 1933 to 1945, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor undertook regulatory and legislative reforms in “protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security” of U.S. workers by “recovering record levels of back wages and monetary recoveries for pension plans, and obtaining record financial settlements for discrimination by federal contractors.” She also restructured departmental programs and modernized regulations.
  • In 2002, a major West Coast ports dispute costing the U.S. economy nearly $1 billion daily was resolved when the Bush administration obtained a national emergency injunction against both the employers and the union under the Taft–Hartley Act for the first time since 1971.
  • In 2003, for the first time in more than 40 years, the Department updated the labor union financial disclosure regulations under the Landrum–Griffin Act of 1959 to provide union members with more information on union finances. In 2004, the Department issued revisions of the white-collar overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • In July and August 2003, Chao and her colleagues, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, took a bus across the country on their “Jobs and Growth Tour” aimed at promoting the benefits of the Bush administration’s tax cuts.

Life after Bush administration (2009–2016)

  • Elaine Chao and her father James Si-Cheng Chao met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan in 2016
  • In 2009 Chao resumed her previous role as a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and she contributes to Fox News and other media outlets.
  • She serves as a director on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, including the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Wells Fargo, NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, News Corp, Dole Food Company, and Protective Life Corporation.
  • In June 2011, she was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.
  • In January 2015 she resigned from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which she had joined in 2012, because of its plans to significantly increase support for the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” initiative.
  • In 2011 and 2013, Chao attended Shanghai signing ceremonies for Capesize bulkers launched by the Foremost Group, her father’s company, where she spoke publicly about U.S.–China relations.
  • At the 2013 ceremony, Chao stated, “The U.S.-China relations is among the most important bilateral relationships in the world. And as such, there is no other alternative but to have a harmonious and a cooperative relationship. As with any relationship, there are bound to be ups, downs, disagreements, but in the overall scheme of things, in the overall direction, for the benefit of the world, the U.S. and China must get along, and must find a way to do so.”
  • In 2013, Chao recorded a motivational video to inspire Asian-American children.
  • Chao is a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute.
  • She also organized the “orientation for the spouses of Republican senators” in Washington, D.C.