Donald Trump has picked Elaine Chao to become transportation secretary, a Trump transition official said Tuesday. Chao, 63, was labor secretary under President George W. Bush and the first Asian-American woman to serve in a president's Cabinet, the AP reports. She also is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Chao came to the US from Taiwan with her family at age 8. Her family settled in New York, where her father became a wealthy shipping magnate. Chao received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard. She went on to become head of the Peace Corps and deputy secretary at the Transportation Department. She was head of the United Way of America and worked at a Washington think tank before becoming labor secretary.
As labor secretary, her job was to protect the nation's workforce, including setting safety standards and addressing issues related to wages and retirement. She updated overtime regulations for "white-collar" workers and rules intended to force unions to disclose more details on their financial condition to members. Chao had been on the board of directors for Bloomberg Philanthropies, run by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She resigned last year after learning the organization planned to expand an environmental initiative to shutter coal-fired power plants. Almost 90% of Kentucky's electricity comes from coal, and her ties to the organization were used against McConnell in his Senate race.