Trump picks former Labor secretary to head DOT

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Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has been chosen to be Secretary of Transportation in the incoming Trump administration.

Chao was also Deputy Transportation Secretary under President George H.W. Bush.

Some in the trucking industry have weighed in on Chao’s selection, among them the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association.

Elaine ChaoElaine Chao

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear praised Trump’s choice of Chao, whose appointment will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

“I had the privilege of serving with and working closely with Secretary Chao during my time at the Department of Labor, and I am extremely pleased that she will be taking on this new challenge,” Spear said. “President-elect Trump could not have picked a more qualified, experienced and dedicated individual to serve in this important role.

“From her experience as Deputy Transportation Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Secretary Chao understands the issues we face as we try to keep America’s freight moving safely and efficiently,” he said. “We are eager to support her as our country and our industry work to improve our roads and bridges, improve safety, and harness the potential that emerging technologies have to continue to move our country forward.”

Spear served as assistant secretary of policy at the Department of Labor from 2001-2004.

John Lyboldt, president of the TCA said of Trump’s choice of Chao, “We applaud the decision in selecting Elaine Chao in being the next Secretary of Transportation.  We look forward to working with her and her staff as our industry faces the trucking challenges of today and inevitably tomorrow as well.”

“Should she be confirmed, we look forward to addressing all the issues facing the industry and small-business truckers,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “We welcome the opportunity to communicate with the transition team and educating them on everything from infrastructure to the burdensome regulations that hinder small-business truckers and undermine overall transportation efficiency.”

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Before her government service, Chao was vice president of syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp in New York.

Chao earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College.