Elaine Lan Chao (Chinese: ???; pinyin: Zhào Xiaolán; born March 26, 1953) is an American politician who serves as the United States Secretary of Transportation, having assumed office on January 31, 2017.
A member of the Republican Party, Chao was previously Secretary of Labor under President George W.
Bush from 2001 to 2009.
Born in Taipei to Chinese parents who had left mainland China following the Chinese Civil War, Chao immigrated to the United States at age 8.
Her father founded the Foremost Group, which eventually became a major shipping corporation.
Chao was raised on Long Island, New York and subsequently attended Mount Holyoke College and Harvard Business School.
She worked for a number of financial institutions before being appointed to several senior positions in the Department of Transportation under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.
Bush, including Deputy Secretary.
She next served as Director of the Peace Corps.
Chao was president of the United Way of America from 1992 to 1996.
While not in government, Chao has served on several boards of directors and worked for The Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute, two conservative think-tanks.
Chao served as Secretary of Labor for the duration of George W.
Bush's presidency and serves as Secretary of Transportation under President Donald Trump.
Chao was the first Asian American woman and the first Chinese American in U.S.
history to be appointed to a President's Cabinet.
Chao married Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 1993.