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Trump taps Chinese-American for cabinet post

Reporter: Jessica Stone 丨 CCTV.com

11-30-2016 15:15 BJT

The next U.S. president appears ready to make his cabinet more diverse. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Donald Trump will name a Chinese-American woman to serve as his Secretary of Transportation.

Elaine Chao is no stranger to politics. She served U.S. President George H.W. Bush as deputy secretary of Transportation, and President George W. Bush as his Secretary of Labor. Four years ago, she campaigned for Former Republican Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney. She spoke to CCTV America at that year’s Republican national convention.

She said, “I believe in limited government, and I believe in lower taxes. I believe in quality education.”

In recent years, Chao has leaned heavily on her Chinese heritage, working with her philanthropist father to build schools in China and to promote educational exchanges between American and Chinese students.

Like China, the U.S. is poised to make major investments in its infrastructure. Donald Trump has pledged to spend U.S.$1 trillion to build new roads, bridges and airports. As secretary, Chao would likely play a key role in getting that spending approved by lawmakers.

That could put her at odds with her husband, Mitch McConnell. He is the Republican leader in the U.S. Senate and has put other issues well ahead of infrastructure on the Senate priority list. While it is unclear how much of Trump’s proposed funding would come from the federal budget, McConnell is a well-known obstacle to increased government spending.

But in choosing Chao to be his chief promoter on infrastructure spending, Trump could get leverage over reluctant Republicans, including McConnell. And it is a rare area of agreement between Trump and Democrats in Congress.

The next U.S. Secretary of Transportation may need to work closer with democrats to address other issues, too, like how and where to deploy commercial drones and how to regulate the use of self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

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