WASHINGTONPresident-elect Donald Trump has nominated former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to head the Department of Transportation and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haleya prominent figure in the tire industry for her work to bring tire industry investment and jobs to her stateto become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Mr. Trump's nomination of Ms. Chaosecretary of labor for eight years in the George W. Bush administrationwas greeted with support by industry trade associations.
Rubber Manufacturers Association President and CEO Anne Forristall Luke called Ms. Chao a highly qualified, seasoned and well-respected nominee for Secretary of Transportation.
Her prior experience...should enable her to quickly organize her team and work to lead administration efforts on transportation infrastructure improvements and to finalize important safety regulations....
Likewise, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said President-elect Trump could not have picked a more qualified, experienced and dedicated individual to serve in this important role.
I had the privilege of serving with and working closely with Secretary Chao during my time at the Department of Labor, Mr. Spear said, and I am extremely pleased that she will be taking on this new challenge.
An immigrant from Taiwan, Ms. Chao joined the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based policy group, in June as a distinguished fellow focusing on topics including employment, labor mobility and trade, according to an online biography.
Before being nominated by President Bush, Ms. Chao, 63, held a number of other key positions, including: president and CEO of United Way of America; director of the Peace Corps; deputy secretary of the DOT; chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission; and a White House Fellow.
From her experience as Deputy Transportation Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Secretary Chao understands the issues we face as we try to keep America's freight moving safely and efficiently, Mr. Spear said in a statement issued by the ATA.
We are eager to support her as our country and our industry work to improve our roads and bridges, improve safety, and harness the potential that emerging technologies have to continue to move our country forward.
She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Ms. Chao will face a number of key decisions at the agency that overseas the nation's vehicles, airplanes, railroads, pipelines, ports and highways and likely will be involved in Mr. Trump's plans to rebuild U.S. infrastructure.
The president-elect's transition website says the new administration seeks to invest $550 billion to ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer. The details on the structure of the plan have yet to be published.
The Transportation Department regulates airlines, automobiles, railroads, trucking and busing with an annual budget of about $95 billion and more than 57,000 employees.
Among its operating units are the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During her six years as governor of South Carolna, Ms. Haley has been involved in negotiations that brought nearly $3.5 billion in tire industry investment for projects that represent roughly 4,500 new jobs for the Palmetto state. She also has spoken twice at the annual Clemson Tire Conference.
In a statement posted on the governor's website, Ms. Haley said: This month's elections have brought exciting changes to America. Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally.
Last week, President-elect Trump asked if I would meet with him to discuss those challenges, which I was happy to do. He has asked that I serve our country as our next ambassador to the United Nations. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, I have agreed.
Ms. Haley, 44, is the daughter of Indian immigrants. She is married to a U.S. Army National Guard captain and they have two children.