Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Resigns Amidst D.C. Chaos

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Elaine Chao, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, has resigned in the wake of the unrest in our nation’s capital yesterday.

Chao, in a letter to her colleagues, said, “Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed. As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

In announcing her resignation, effective Monday, January 11, 2021, Chao pledged to help her successor, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with his transition to running the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Chao was the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, her second cabinet position. She served as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 2001 to January 2009 and is the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet.

Chao came to the U.S. Department of Transportation with extensive experience in the transportation sector. Early in her career, she specialized in transportation financing in the private sector, then began a career in public service working on transportation issues at the White House. She served as Deputy Maritime Administrator, U. S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Chao immigrated to America at the age of eight speaking no English, receiving her citizenship at age 19. Transitioning to a new country motivated her to devote much of her professional life to ensuring that others have the opportunity to build a better life. As U.S. Secretary of Labor, she focused on increasing the competitiveness of America’s workforce in a global economy, promoted job training, and improving workplace safety and health.

Prior to the Department of Labor, Chao was President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America. Chao also served as Director of the Peace Corps, where she established the first programs in the Baltic nations and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

Chao earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College. Honored for her accomplishments and public service, she is the recipient of 37 honorary doctorate degrees.

A resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky, Chao is married to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also condemned the riots and opposed President Trump’s demands that the election be overturned in his favor. Prior to her appointment as Secretary of Transportation, Chao was a Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute. She is the eldest of six daughters born to Dr. James S.C. Chao and the late Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao.

[Images: U.S. Dept. of Transportation]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jan 12, 2021

    @ToolGuy - I've done a few online tests like that. They are interesting especially if you find one's that are truly neutral or are part of a University study. People that tend to seek out bias tests usually are those that already are introspective enough to know where they are on the spectrum. It is rather unfortunate that both the left and right have a following that is completely rigid in outlook.

  • Old_WRX Old_WRX on Jan 15, 2021

    28cars, "but most of that younger generation would go collectively insane (no joke)." Yes they would. I don't know what they are teaching as American history these days. And, I'd rather not know.

  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.
  • TheEndlessEnigma A '95 in Iowa, I'm thinking significant frame and underbody rust issues.