Donald Trump Just Appointed the First Asian American Woman to Have Been in a Presidential Cabinet

Elaine Chao, who has served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, has been selected as Donald Trump’s transportation secretary, according to the President-elect’s transition team.

The wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chao was the first Asian American woman to be appointed to a President’s Cabinet under the Bush administration.

The 63-year-old was previously the Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Director of the Peace Corps during George H.W. Bush’s administration, and chair of the Federal Maritime Commission.

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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, according to The Hill.

“She has an amazing life story and has helped countless Americans in her public service career. I am pleased to nominate Elaine as Secretary of the Department of Transportation.”

Chao said in a statement on Tuesday that she is honored to be nominated and to “serve my beloved country as transportation secretary.”

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“The President-elect has outlined a clear vision to transform our country’s infrastructure, accelerate economic growth and productivity, and create good paying jobs across the country,” she said.

She isn’t the first American woman of Asian descent to fill a Cabinet position or other top roles in Trump’s administration. Earlier in November, it was announced that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who reportedly has little experience in foreign affairs and diplomatic relations, was nominated for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, according to pop culture blog Reappropriate.co.

Trump’s transition team also announced on Tuesday that CEO and founder of SVC Inc., Seema Verma, who helped to create and implement the Healthy Indiana Plan, will lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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The plan was meant for Indiana’s low-income residents as an alternative to the health care coverage created under the Affordable Care Act, but residents are required to contribute a percentage of their income by a specific due date in exchange for a plan with $1,100 deductibles for services, and offers no preventative care coverage.

Top Image via Gage Skidmore

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