Pakistanis Hail President Trump’s Pick for Secretary of Transportation
By Anila Ali
Irvine, CA: The ILF is a non-profit that promotes the civic engagement of Asian Pacific Americans and the ILF has had many Pakistani undergrads as fellows in the program. Secretary Elaine Chao, has served as the Honorary Chair of ILF for many years.
As a Pakistani American woman, who has been inspired by Secretary Chao and her family’s leadership of the APA community, I was honored to attend the Welcome Ceremony for 18th US Secretary of Transportation recently in Washington DC.
At the Welcome Ceremony, Honorable Elaine S. Chao, and members of the House and Senate, along with the Asian Pacific Community, gathered to celebrate Secretary Chao’s accomplished career and her present appointment as US 18th Secretary of Transportation by President Trump.
Personally, I have indeed, admired her dedication to public service for many years as she has motivated scores of our young Asian Pacific Americans towards civic awareness, public service, and economic engagement.
“Elaine’s story is a quintessential American story,” said House Majority Leader, her proud husband, Senator Mitch McConnell. She came here at the age of 8 not knowing English, and then she received her citizenship at the age of 19. A Harvard MBA graduate, with a degree from Mount Holyoke College, her immigrant experience has motivated her to dedicate her life to ensuring everyone has equal opportunity to achieve his or her American Dream.
Secretary Chao has the distinct honor of being the first Asian Pacific American woman in history to hold a cabinet position, not once but twice. She was also the 24th US Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2008 and Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission under President George H. W. Bush. Prior to that, she was the President and CEO of United Way of America, where she restored a public organization into a renowned charitable institution.
ILF’s Founding President, Chiling Tong said, “In addition to being the first Asian Pacific American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet, Secretary Chao was also a great Deputy Secretary of Transportation. She has extensive experience in transportation. She will help improve our country’s infrastructure and create more jobs. This is wonderful news for the Asian Pacific American community.”
Dr Paul Hsu, Chairman of ILF and a member of President Trump’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee said, “She is an absolutely hard-working professional and inspirational leader. Most of all, she knows how to manage government agencies. She will make another legacy.”
At her Welcome, glowing tributes were paid to her by The Honorable John Thune, Chairman of US Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Technology, The Honorable Elizabeth Dole, 8th US Secretary of Transportation, Honorable Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, Michael Sacco, Honorable Bill Shuster, Chairman House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader.
Also present was the legendary Secretary Norman Mineta, a US army veteran, whose family was interned in a camp in Minnesota and then he went on to become the first Japanese American cabinet member for both, President Bush and Clinton.
“What are you going to do for the next generation of Pakistani Americans?” He had asked me that probing question eight years ago. Today, Secretary Mineta serves as a role model for Muslims on how public service is the call of duty for Muslims in America. It is with the leadership of the Asian American leaders, that we can chalk out our political pathways in America.