Elaine Chao

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Elaine Lan Chao (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhào Xiǎolán; Wade–Giles: Chao Hsiao-lan;[1] born March 26, 1953) served as the 24th United States Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was the first Asian Pacific American woman and first Chinese American to be appointed to a President's cabinet in American history.[2] Chao was the only cabinet member to serve under George W. Bush for his entire administration.[3] She is married to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the current U.S. Senate Minority Leader.[4]


Childhood and education

The eldest of six daughters, Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan, to Ruth Mulan Chu Chao (趙朱木蘭 Zhào Zhū Mùlán), a historian, and Dr. James S.C. Chao (趙錫成博士 Zhào Xīchéng), a powerful and well-connected Shanghainese entrepreneur. She attended Tsai Hsing Elementary School in kindergarten and first grade. Her parents had fled to Taiwan from mainland China after the Chinese Communists took over as a result of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. After her father settled in the U.S. and established himself in the shipping business, Chao came to the U.S. at age eight. Chao's father started Foremost Shipping Corp in 1964 and capitalized on exponential growth in trade with China. She attended Syosset High School, an affluent public school in Long Island, New York.

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