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December, 6, 2016

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Chao named US transport secretary

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday he has selected Elaine Chao, a former labor secretary and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as a Taiwanese-American, to lead the Department of Transportation.

"Secretary Chao's extensive record of strong leadership and her expertise are invaluable assets in our mission to rebuild our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner," Trump said in a statement released by his campaign.

Chao said Trump "has outlined a clear vision to transform our country's infrastructure, accelerate economic growth and productivity, and create good paying jobs across the country."

Elaine Chao, 63, is well-known in Washington. She was the first Asian-American woman to serve in a president's Cabinet, as labor secretary under George W. Bush.

Her record in that post suggests she would bring a light hand to safety enforcement as transportation secretary.

Under Chao at Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration didn't issue a single significant new safety regulation for four years. Mine safety inspectors were cut and inspections reduced.

Whether it's integrating drones into the national airspace, deploying self-driving cars or "some other new technology, she's not going to be especially inclined to second guess the industry when they say that this will be safe," said Thomas McGarity, a University of Texas law professor.

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