President-elect Trump today nominated Elaine L. Chao, one of the most seasoned political hands in Washington, as the nation's next Secretary of Transportation.
Chao, 63, the eldest daughter of a Taiwanese merchant mariner who emigrated to the U.S. and built a successful shipping company, brings significant transportation experience to the job, presuming she is confirmed by the Senate. She served as deputy transport secretary during the George H.W. Bush administration, and prior to that was head of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), and deputy administrator of the Maritime Administration.
Chao served as Secretary of Labor during the George W. Bush administration, becoming the only cabinet secretary to remain for all eight years.
After leaving government, Chao returned to a previous position as a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think thank. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the two are considered one of the capital's most influential couples. With the Trump Administration planning to request $550 billion, and perhaps more, to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, McConnell could play a critical role in advancing the President-elect's agenda, especially with his wife in charge of the executive branch's transportation policy.