Trump Selects Elaine Chao as Next U.S. DOT Secretary

Washington, D.C. (November 29, 2016): President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly announce later today that he is nominating Elaine Chao to serve as the next Secretary of Transportation. Chao has extensive executive experience, having served as Secretary of Labor for the entirety of the George W. Bush Administration and Deputy Secretary of Transportation under the George H.W. Bush Administration. Chao has an extensive maritime background, having served as Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration and Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission under President Ronald Reagan. Chao’s family also owns an international shipping company. Most recently, Chao worked with the Hudson Institute and Heritage Foundation, in addition to serving on the board of directors for a number of nonprofit and corporate institutions. Chao is married to current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

It is expected that Chao shares Trump’s vision about implementing a large infrastructure package. She has previously supported the use of tax incentives, public private partnerships, and other private funding incentives, which are expected to be a centerpiece of Trump’s infrastructure policy.

Chao faces Senate confirmation, but there is little reason to doubt she will once again be confirmed. Her confirmation as Labor Secretary was swift and by voice vote in 2001. Of interest in coming days will be the nomination of modal administrators and other political appointments at U.S. Department of Transportation, and the ongoing rollout of the remainder of the Trump cabinet. A number of key appointments, including Secretary of State, remain unfilled at this time

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