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Elaine Chao

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Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao official portrait 2.jpg
18th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
January 31, 2017 – January 11, 2021
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyJeffrey A. Rosen
Steven G. Bradbury
Preceded byAnthony Foxx
Succeeded byPete Buttigieg
24th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
January 29, 2001 – January 20, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAlexis Herman
Succeeded byHilda Solis
12th Director of the Peace Corps
In office
October 8, 1991 – November 13, 1992
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byPaul Coverdell
Succeeded byCarol Bellamy
United States Deputy Secretary of Transportation
In office
April 19, 1989 – October 8, 1991
PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded byMimi Weyforth Dawson
Succeeded byJames B. Busey IV
Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission
In office
April 29, 1988 – April 19, 1989
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byEdward Hickey
Succeeded byJames Carey
Commissioner of the
Federal Maritime Commission
In office
April 29, 1988 – April 19, 1989
PresidentRonald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Preceded byEdward Hickey
Succeeded byMing Hsu
Personal details
Elaine Lan Chao

(1953-03-26) March 26, 1953 (age 68)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mitch McConnell (m. 1993–present) «start: (1993)»"Marriage: Mitch McConnell to Elaine Chao" Location: (linkback:
ParentsJames S. C. Chao
Ruth Mulan Chu Chao
EducationMount Holyoke College (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Net worth$24 million[1]
Elaine Chao
Traditional Chinese 趙小蘭
Simplified Chinese 赵小兰

Elaine Lan Chao-McConnell (趙小蘭; born March 26, 1953)[2] is an American politician. She was the 18th United States Secretary of Transportation from January 31, 2017 to January 11, 2021 during the Donald Trump administration.

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. She 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.[3]

Early life

Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan.[4] Her parents were Ruth Mulan Chu Chao (1930–2007) and James S. C. Chao (born 1927). Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1961. She studied at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and at Harvard University.

United States Secretary of Labor (2001–2009)

Chao was the only cabinet member in the George W. Bush administration to serve for the entirety of his eight years.[5] She was also the longest-serving Secretary of Labor since Frances Perkins, who served from 1933 to 1945, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[6]

United States Secretary of Transport (since 2017)

On November 29, 2016, it was announced that President-elect Donald Trump planned to nominate Chao for Secretary of Transportation when he takes office.[7]

On January 31, 2017, the United States Senate confirmed Chao's nomination with a 93-6 vote.[8] She assumed office on the same day, with Vice President Mike Pence swearing her in.

Following the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Chao resigned as Secretary of Transportation on January 7, 2021, which is set to take effect on January 11.[9][10]

Personal life

Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.


  1. Peterson-Withorn, Chase (December 22, 2016). "Here's What Each Member Of Trump's $4.5 Billion Cabinet Is Worth". Forbes. 
  2. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings
  3. "Press Briefing by Administration Officials on American Competitiveness Initiative", (February 1, 2006), retrieved February 25, 2009
  4. First Taiwan-born US Cabinet member revisits her roots on Taipei visit, Formosa Television News, 2014/11/14
  5. "Chao becomes fifth-longest-serving Secretary of Labor". Peace Corps Online. 
  6. "US Department of Labor History". 
  7. CNN, Phil Mattingly and David Wright. "Trump picks Elaine Chao for transportation secretary". 
  8. "US Senate Roll Call Vote PN35". January 31, 2017. 
  9. Kaitlan Collins; Jeremy Diamond (January 7, 2021). "Elaine Chao resigns as transportation secretary in wake of riot". CNN. Retrieved January 7, 2021. 
  10. Rehman, Fareeha (2021-01-07). "Elaine Chao first Trump Cabinet member to resign after Capitol riot" (in en-US). KRON4. Retrieved 2021-01-07. 

Other websites

Media related to Elaine Chao at Wikimedia Commons