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Elaine Chao
Elaine Lan Chao (Chinese: 趙 小 蘭; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who served as the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor under President George

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function mfTempOpenSection(id){var block=document.getElementById("mf-section-"+id);block.className+=" open-block";block.previousSibling.className+=" open-block";} The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Elaine Chao 26th United States Secretary of Transportation In office
January 29, 2001 – January 20, 2009 President Donald J. Trump Preceded by Alexis Herman Succeeded by Hilda Solis 24th United States Secretary of Labor In office
1991–1992 President George W. Bush Preceded by Paul Coverdell Succeeded by Carol Bellamy Director of the Peace Corps President George H. W. Bush Personal details Born Elaine Lan Chao
(1953-03-26) March 26, 1953 (age 63)
Taipei, Taiwan Political party Republican Spouse(s) Mitch McConnell Alma mater Mount Holyoke College (BA)
Harvard University (MBA) Elaine L. Chao Traditional Chinese 趙 小 蘭 Simplified Chinese 赵 小 兰 Hanyu Pinyin Zhào Xiǎolán Transcriptions Standard Mandarin Hanyu Pinyin Zhào Xiǎolán Wade–Giles Chao Hsiao-lan This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.

Elaine Lan Chao (Chinese: 趙 小 蘭; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who served as the 24th U.S. 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 announced as the nominee for United States Secretary of Transportation by President-elect Donald Trump on November 29, 2016. Born in Taiwan to mainland Chinese parents, 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. She is married to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 Early career
    • 2.2 United Way and Heritage Foundation
    • 2.3 U.S. Secretary of Labor
      • 2.3.1 Criticism
    • 2.4 Life after Bush administration
  • 3 Personal life
    • 3.1 Husband's campaigning
    • 3.2 Family
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Early life and education

Elaine Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan. The eldest of six daughters, Chao was born to Ruth Mulan Chu Chao (趙朱木蘭 Zhào Zhū Mùlán), a historian, and Dr. James S.C. Chao (趙錫成 Zhào Xīchéng), who began his career as a merchant mariner and later founded a successful shipping company in New York called Foremost Shipping. Chao's parents had fled to Taiwan from Shanghai, mainland China, after the Chinese Communists took over after the Chinese Civil War in 1949. When she was 8 years old, in 1961, Chao came to the United States on a freight ship with her mother and two younger sisters. Her father had arrived in New York three years earlier after receiving a scholarship.

Chao attended noted private school Tsai Hsing Elementary School in Taipei, for kindergarten and first grade, and attended Syosset High School in Syosset, New York, in the United States. She received a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College in 1975 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979. At Mount Holyoke, she played field hockey and was a member of the horseback riding club; she also edited the yearbook, served as the student representative for the economics department, and worked as a Mount Holyoke recruiter.

Chao has received 36 honorary doctorates, most recently a Doctor of Humane Letters from Georgetown University.

Career Early career

Before entering politics, Chao was vice president for syndications at Bank of America Capital Markets Group in San Francisco, and an international banker at Citicorp in New York for four years.

Chao was granted a White House Fellowship in 1983 during the Reagan administration. In October 2013, Chao told a game show audience that the fellowship was part of a special program with Citicorp. "They selected outstanding performers within the bank and gave them an opportunity to support them for a stint in the government," Chao said.

In 1986, Chao became deputy administrator of the Maritime Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation. From 1988 to 1989, she served as chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Chao to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation. From 1991 to 1992, Chao was Director of the Peace Corps. She was the first Asian Pacific American to serve in any of these positions. She expanded the Peace Corps's presence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia by establishing the first Peace Corps programs in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and other newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Before a 1999 House panel during the 1996 United States campaign finance controversy, John Huang testified that Chao had asked him to give money to her husband, Mitch McConnell, and that his Indonesian employer illegally reimbursed him for $2,000 he ultimately gave to McConnell's 1990 campaign. Huang later repeated the assertion in testimony in a federal suit, in which he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws in funneling $100,000 in illegal donations to President Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign.

United Way and Heritage Foundation

Following her service in the government, Chao worked for four years as President and CEO of United Way of America. She is credited with returning credibility and public trust in the organization after a financial mismanagement scandal involving former president William Aramony. From 1996 until her appointment as Secretary of Labor, Chao was a Distinguished Fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. She was also a board member of the Independent Women's Forum. She returned to the Heritage Foundation after leaving the government in January 2009.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Portrait of Elaine Chao by Chen Yanning in the Great Hall of the U.S. Department of Labor's Frances Perkins Building. It features the American flag, the Kentucky state flag, the U.S. Capitol, and photos of her husband, Mitch McConnell, and her parents, James and Ruth Chao.

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

Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor undertook significant regulatory and legislative reforms in "protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security" of U.S. workers by "recovering record levels of back wages and monetary recoveries for pension plans, and obtaining record financial settlements for discrimination by federal contractors." She also restructured departmental programs and modernized regulations to boost the competitiveness of America's workforce.

In 2002, a major west coast ports dispute costing the U.S. economy nearly $1 billion daily was resolved when the Bush administration obtained a national emergency injunction against both the employers and the union under the Taft–Hartley Act for the first time since 1971. In 2003, for the first time in more than 40 years, the Department updated the labor union financial disclosure regulations under the Landrum–Griffin Act of 1959 to provide union members with more information on union finances. In 2004, the Department issued significant revisions of the white-collar overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

In July and August 2003, Chao and her colleagues, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, took a bus across the country on their "Jobs and Growth Tour" aimed at promoting the benefits of the Bush administration's tax cuts.


During Chao's first four years as Secretary of Labor, OSHA did not promulgate a single significant health standard.

After analyzing 70,000 closed case files from 2005 to 2007, the Government Accountability Office reported that the Department's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) inadequately investigated complaints from low- and minimum-wage workers alleging that employers failed to pay the federal minimum wage, required overtime, and failed to issue a last paycheck.

Chao's tenure as Labor Secretary saw two mine disasters for which she was criticized. Twelve miners were killed in the Sago Mine disaster on January 2, 2006, and three rescue workers died in the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster on August 6, 2007. Before the mines collapsed, Chao had cut more than a hundred coal mine safety inspections. According to the Christian Science Monitor, "Nearly half of the 208 safety citations levied in 2005 against the Sago coal mine where 12 men died this week were 'serious and substantial.'" On December 10, 2008, Chao announced that the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) had, in the first year of the agency's 100 Percent Plan, achieved its goal of completing every mandated regular inspection for the year, a first in the agency's 31-year history.

A 2008 report by the department's inspector general found that despite implementation of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, mine safety regulators did not conduct federally required inspections at more than 14% of the country's 731 underground coal mines, and that the number of worker deaths in mining accidents more than doubled to 47. A 2009 internal audit appraising an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiative focusing on problematic workplaces revealed that employees had failed to gather needed data, conducted uneven inspections and enforcement, and failed to discern repeat fatalities because records misspelled the companies' names or failed to notice when two subsidiaries with the same owner were involved. However, OSHA statistics for 2007 and 2008 revealed that overall workplace fatality rates and workplace injury and illness rates were "both at all-time lows."

A 2008 Government Accountability Office report noted that the Labor Department gave Congress inaccurate numbers that understated the expense of contracting out its employees' work to private firms during Chao's tenure.

A report by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, under the Chairmanship of Henry A. Waxman (D–Calif.), alleged that Chao and other White House officials campaigned for Republican candidates at taxpayer expense. The report described this as a violation of the Hatch Act of 1939, which restricts the use of public funds for partisan gain, but no action was taken by any entity with responsibility for enforcing the Hatch Act.

Life after Bush administration

In 2009 Chao resumed her previous role as a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and she contributes to Fox News and other media outlets.

She also serves as a director on a number of corporate and non-profit boards, including the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Wells Fargo, NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, News Corp, Dole Food Company, and Protective Life Corporation. In June 2011, she was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.

In January 2015 she resigned from the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which she had joined in 2012, because of its plans to significantly increase support for the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal" initiative.

In 2011 and 2013, Chao attended Shanghai signing ceremonies for Capesize bulkers launched by the Foremost Group, her father's company, where she spoke publicly about U.S.–China relations. At the 2013 ceremony, Chao stated, "The (sic) U.S.-China relations is (sic) among the most important bilateral relationships in the world. And as such, there is no other alternative but to have a harmonious and a cooperative relationship. As with any relationship, there are bound to be ups, downs, disagreements, but in the overall scheme of things, in the overall direction, for the benefit of the world, U.S. and China must get along, and must find a way to do so."

In 2013, Chao recorded a motivational video to inspire Asian-American children.

She also organized the "orientation for the spouses of Republican senators" in Washington, D.C.

As of November 11th, 2016 she was nominated by President-Elect Trump to become his Secretary of Transportation.

Personal life

In 1993, Chao married Mitch McConnell, the senior U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the Senate Majority Leader. They were introduced by Stuart Bloch, an early friend of McConnell's, and his wife Julia Chang Bloch, a Chinese American and a future U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, the first Asian American to serve as US Ambassador, who mentored Elaine Chao. Stuart Bloch described Chao as a "tiger wife," a reference to Amy Chua's 2011 book about her disciplinarian parenting style. Previously, she had dated C. Boyden Gray, the White House Counsel to President George H. W. Bush.

The University of Louisville's Ekstrom Library opened the "McConnell-Chao Archives" in November 2009. It is a major component of the university's McConnell Center.

Husband's campaigning

In the two years leading up to the 2014 U.S. Senate elections, she "headlined fifty of her own events and attended hundreds more with and on behalf of" her husband and was seen as "a driving force of his reelection campaign" and eventual victory over Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who had portrayed McConnell as "anti-woman." After winning the election, McConnell said, "The biggest asset I have by far is the only Kentucky woman who served in a president's cabinet, my wife, Elaine Chao."

Additionally, she adds "a softer touch" to McConnell's style by speaking of him "in a feminine, wifely way," as Jan Karzen, a longtime friend of McConnell's, put it. She has been described as "the campaign hugger" and is also known for bipartisan socializing. For example, in 2014 she hosted a dinner with philanthropist Catherine B. Reynolds to welcome Penny Pritzker as Secretary of Commerce, where she spent the evening socializing with Valerie Jarrett, Obama's top advisor.

The New York Times has described her as "an unapologetically ambitious operator with an expansive network, a short fuse, and a seemingly inexhaustible drive to get to the top and stay there." It reported that as labor secretary, she "had gold-colored coins minted with her name in bas-relief and employed a "Veep"-like staff member who carried around her bag."


Chao is the oldest of six sisters, the others being Jeannette, May, Christine, Grace, and Angela. The New York Times reported that "several of her five younger sisters married Wall Street titans, including Bruce Wasserstein, the late owner of New York Magazine."

Her father, James S.C. Chao, is a shipping magnate who founded the Foremost Group. In April 2008, Chao's father gave Chao and McConnell between $5 million and $25 million, which "boosted McConnell's personal worth from a minimum of $3 million in 2007 to more than $7 million" and "helped the McConnells after their stock portfolio dipped in the wake of the financial crisis that year."

In 2012 the family donated $40 million to Harvard Business School for scholarships for students of Chinese heritage and the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, an executive education building named for Chao's late mother. Her mother Ruth Mulan Chu Chao returned to school at age 51 to earn a master's degree in Asian literature and history from St. John's University.

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External links
  • Government of the United States portal
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elaine Chao.
  • Elaine Chao's official website
  • Heritage Foundation profile
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Elaine Chao history at Department of Labor
  • Elaine Chao Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
Government offices Preceded by
Paul Coverdell Director of the Peace Corps
1991–1992 Succeeded by
Carol Bellamy Political offices Preceded by
Alexis Herman United States Secretary of Labor
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The Long Game: A Memoir
The Long Game: A Memoir
The candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of the of the Senate Majority Leader and GOP veteran.   In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign against an incumbent Democrat, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his insurgent campaign. He even had a camera crew ready to capture the president’s words for a TV commercial he planned to air during the campaign’s final stretch. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared: “I’m happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O’Donnell.”    That was hardly Mitch McConnell’s first setback, and far from his last. He swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later, in the biggest upset of the year, his dream of being a US senator came true—by a margin of about one vote per precinct. By persevering, he’d be the only Republican in the country to beat an incumbent Democratic US senator.    McConnell learned patience and fortitude during his post–World War II youth in Alabama. His mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exer­cises every day for two years. His father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant tak­ing the occasional punch. It turned out to be the perfect childhood for a future Senate majority leader. “In the line of work I would choose, compromise is key, but I’d come to find that certain times required me to invoke the fight­ing spirit both of my parents instilled in me.”  For more than three decades, McConnell has worked steadily to advance conservative values, including limited government, indi­vidual liberty, fiscal prudence, and a strong national defense. But he has always cared much more about moving the ball forward than about who gets the credit. Now McConnell reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House; the players and the stakes involved when a group of political oppor­tunists tried to hijack the Tea Party movement; and key figures such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. He explains the real causes of the chronic gridlock that has so many vot­ers enraged, his ongoing efforts to restore the US Senate’s indispensable dual role as a brake on excess and a tool for national consensus, and what ordinary citizens have a right to expect from Washington. 


Interspecies: Volume 1 (The Inlari Sagas)
Interspecies: Volume 1 (The Inlari Sagas)
"Hard-hitting stories about a grim future world. . . . I found the exploration mind-stretching . . ." ~ Piers Anthony, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Xanth Series"Interspecies is a solid science fiction anthology . . . entertaining reading for a thinking person . . . sets a high bar. . . . These are writers to watch." ~ Keith West, Adventure Fantastic and Futures Past and PresentFifty years after first contact with the inlari, war ravaged the Earth, leaving New Zealand and Australia the victors and survivors, but at a devastating cost. As human and inlari factions compete against each other in the struggle for power and resources, some seek zealotry and dominance. Others strive for peace and unity--and with them, hope still lives.Interspecies is a shared-universe anthology containing four stories of transformation, survival, and the eternal search for meaning and purpose in a turbulent world. Can inlari and humans alike bridge the gap created by their prejudices? Or will one species forever rule the other?


Armistice (The Inlari Sagas Book 0)
Armistice (The Inlari Sagas Book 0)
Long ago, the aliens known as the inlaris lost their home world in a devastating attack. They traveled for eons searching for a new home. But their new home, Earth, was already taken. At first inlaris and humans brokered deals bringing Earth into a new golden age of collaboration. The golden age didn’t last long...From hopeful stories of first contact and alien teamwork to tales of post-apocalyptic survival and brutal interspecies conflict, these narratives portray startling snapshots of peace and war with an intensity that only very short fiction can convey. Each author’s unique stories enrich the shared, singular vision of the Inlari Sagas.This collection precedes the Interspecies Series—volumes of full-length stories—and presents 20 tales spanning the years of the inlaris arrival on Earth, the golden era, the Great War that eventually followed, and the interspecies conflicts that still rattle the world in the aftermath.

wisdom and beautiful: Elaine Chao(Chinese Edition)
wisdom and beautiful: Elaine Chao(Chinese Edition)
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Midlife Happy Hour: Our Reward for Surviving Careers, Kids, and Chaos
Midlife Happy Hour: Our Reward for Surviving Careers, Kids, and Chaos
More than 40 million middle-aged women are tumbling over the hill laughing all the way because the kids are grown, their menstrual periods stopped, and they survived at least four decades of arbitrary rules dictated by a crabby universe. They went to work with varying degrees of success and they brought home the bacon but threw it in the freezer and ordered pizza. Now they're ready to celebrate the freedom of pending retirement because they know it's more fun to laugh hysterically than to stab someone with a fork and deal with the messy court case and inconvenient jail time. With her irreverent kiss-my-attitude, Elaine Ambrose shares her life experiences through a series of amusing anecdotes created to show women over age 50 that life is worth living out loud. Readers will learn how to remain relevant when the world ignores them, why their children are cute but should grow up and move out, how to cope when their aging parents forget their names, and why it's never too late to get serious about a passionate love life. She even throws in a few hints for fabulous fashion and decorating ideas for lazy people. This creative collection of humorous, gluten-free, and non-fattening stories will encourage midlife friends to grab an adult beverage and order two laughs for the price of one as the appropriate reward for surviving careers, kids, and chaos. It's time for Midlife Happy Hour!


Chaos Unbound: A Jewish Childhood in Nazi Berlin
Chaos Unbound: A Jewish Childhood in Nazi Berlin
Reviews “Elaine Siegel presents us with the fascinating story of her survival as a Jewish child in Nazi Berlin. Full of detail and laced with pungent observations of the adults around her, Siegel’s memoir recreates the child’s view of, and emotional reactions to, the Nazi coming to power with astuteness and clarity.” — Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College Product Description “We spied on our families, just like the Hitler Youth had exhorted us to do, but not to catch them in the midst of illicit or illegal acts. We had a different purpose: We wanted to keep our grown-ups alive and away from the police. This was not always easy.” — Elaine V. Siegel, from Chaos Unbound In 1925, Charlotte Resca, a German-Jewish girl of 18 years, was so enamored of her handsome German-Protestant fiancé that she followed him to America. There they would would marry and begin a new life. The marriage failed, but not before a daughter, Elaine, was born on December 29, 1928. In the summer of 1931, Charlotte, unaware of the horror soon to unfold, left her husband and returned to Berlin with her two-and-a-half-year-old Jewish daughter. Beautiful and ambitious, she would pursue a career in banking while her child was raised by the grandparents. Young Elaine would bond with her remarkable maternal grandmother, a midwife, herbal healer, and counselor of local renown, and grow up with an odd assortment of friends, neighbors, and relations, Jewish and Gentile, wealthy and impoverished, pro- and anti-Nazi. There is drama in this memoir of a Jewish childhood in Nazi Berlin. The tightening grip of anti-Semitism, the transformation of local ne’er-do-wells into imperious Brownshirts, the marginalization and degradation of shopkeepers and merchants who resisted Nazi blandishments, and the visceral disgust of many Germans for Hitler — all are woven into a story whose very intimacy captures the largeness of its historical moment. It is especially the young Elaine’s clarity of vision — her keen understanding of what was happening around her and what was required to safeguard herself and “her adults” — that pulls the reader along in this gripping account of Jewish survival in the eye of the Nazi storm. About the Author Now in retirement in Wayland, MA after a long and distinguished career as both a psychoanalyst and registered dance therapist, Elaine V. Siegel is widely published in both German and English and has lectured extensively in the United States and Europe.


Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
The stories in Out of Chaos forms a profound testament to lost and found lives that are translated into compelling reading. The collection illuminates brief or elongated moments, fragments of memory and experience, what the great Holocaust writer Ida Fink called “a scrap of time.”  In all, the anthology expresses survivors’ memories and reactions to a wide range of experiences as they survived in so many European settings, from Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Poland, and France. The writers recall being on the run between different countries, escaping over mountains, hiding and even sometimes forgetting their Jewish identities in convents and rescuers’ homes and hovels, basements and attics. Some were left on their own; others found themselves embroiled in rescuer family conflicts.  Some writers chose to write story clusters, each one capturing a moment or incident and often disconnected by memory or temporal and spatial divides.  




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