Former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao back to Chinatown to thank for the community’s support
Former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao was back in San Francisco last week to visit the Chinatown family associations and thank them for the longtime support during her tenure in the federal government.
Chao was the first Asian American woman to serve in a presidential cabinet as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush and as Secretary of Transportation under President Donald Trump.
Chao resigned from her job at the U.S. Department of Transportation when President Joe Biden won the election in 2020. Chao’s last visit to San Francisco Chinatown was in December 2019, shortly before the COVID pandemic.
Born in Taiwan, raised in New York, Chao had worked at the Bank of America in San Francisco before she joined the federal government. She has been well connected with the San Francisco Chinese community.
Chao came back to visit the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) last week.
“I want to thank my community that offered me so much encouragement when I was the Secretary of Labor and Transportation,” said Chao to the CCBA leaders.
Chao congratulated Alisa Lam for being the first woman Presiding President of CCBA in its 170-year history. “When I was a little girl, I didn’t think it was possible,” said Chao. “I didn’t see young girls as part of the lion dance group in 2019.”
Chao presented two books of her father James Chao’s biography to CCBA. James Chao founded the Foremost Groups, a shipping company with extensive business in Asia.
“Currently I spend most of my time in Kentucky,” said Chao, who is married to Kentucky U.S. Senator and Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell. “Kentucky’s population is 93% white. It becomes more diverse. Our entire country is becoming more diverse.”
After the CCBA visit, Chao walked through Chinatown to visit the Loong Kong Tien Yee Association which represents her Chao family surnames.