Updated 11.30.16 President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Bush administration official Elaine Chao as his transportation secretary, a position that will take on outsized importance with Trump’s plan to spend billions rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, a person with knowledge of the decision said Tuesday.
The announcement was made late Tuesday afternoon.
Chao, a former labor secretary and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would oversee the massive program Trump is planning to rebuild bridges, roads and other infrastructure.
Chao also served as the deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1991. Following her time in government, Chao has held a position as a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation in addition to conducting media appearances.
Chao’s career includes both the public, private and non-profit sectors. She was President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, and helped to restore public trust and confidence in this premier charitable institution. Chao has also served as Director of the Peace Corps, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator, and White House Fellow. Prior to her government service, she was Vice President of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp in New York.
Secretary Chao earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College.
Recognized with innumerable awards for her public and community service, she is the recipient of 36 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the globe. A popular speaker on jobs, the economy, and U. S. competitiveness issues. She serves on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards
Elaine Chao was the first Kentuckian named to the President’s cabinet since 1945. She is married to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.