President Bush''s nominee for labor secretary, Elaine Chao, former president and chief executive officer of the United Way and the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will attend her confirmation hearing tomorrow.
Unlike Chavez, Chao drew immediate praise from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who serves with her on the board of the United Way.
Chao telephoned Sweeney before the nomination was announced, a sign that the Bush administration may be trying to mend fences with organized labor, who bitterly opposed Chavez. In a statement, Sweeney said Chao "has worked with the labor movement and has experience in government, in the private sector and in public service."
Chao, an Asian-American who emigrated from Taiwan at the age of 8, ought to know her way around Washington, D.C.
Under Reagan and Bush''s father, she served as deputy administrator of the Federal Maritime Administration, deputy transportation secretary and Peace Corps director.
Although Chao appears to be a far-less polarizing figure than Chavez, the new labor secretary nominee also has impeccable conservative credentials. She is a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, and is on the board of directors at a number of corporations.
There has been no indication who Chao would name to replace OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress.
Deputy Assistant Secretary R. Davis Layne was named as acting OSHA administrator by outgoing Labor Secretary Alexis Herman before Bush''s inauguration Saturday.
by James Nash