Former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao was announced as President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Transportation, as POLITICO reported Tuesday. The New York Times ‘s Maggie Haberman tweeted that as of Monday night, Chao was seen as a “dark horse” candidate in a mix that included Lou Barletta, John Mica, Greg Hughes, and others—yet she has received applause for being a more “normal” choice than many of Trump’s other cabinet choices, which so far include Betsy DeVos, avowed enemy of public education, as Education Secretary, and Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon with zero experience working in housing, leading HUD. What might Chao’s leadership mean for the future of transportation policy? A few key points about her record offer some hints.
Chao is a seasoned choice: She served a full eight years as Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush, and already had years of experience in top-level federal positions before that. Under the first President Bush, Chao served at the Department of Transportation as a maritime administrator and then as deputy secretary. She knows her way around the White House.