Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Mt Holyoke grad appointed Secretary of Labor

Elaine Chao just may become the second female graduate of Mount Holyoke College to hold the position of Secretary of Labor for the United States.

President George W. Bush announced on Jan. 12 that Chao, a 1975 Mount Holyoke graduate in economics, would be the new candidate for Secretary of Labor. Chao is not the first alumna to serve in the Cabinet position. She follows in the footsteps of Frances Perkins, a 1902 graduate of the school, who was the first woman ever to hold a Cabinet position under President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945.

Mount Holyoke College’s associate director of communications Kevin McCaffrey did not seem surprised by the nomination explaining that the alumna returned in 1984 to accept the Mary Lyon award from the Alumni Association for her outstanding achievements.

‘There is a tradition of public service and leadership here at Mount Holyoke. It is not surprising that we would see this happen,’ McCaffrey told the Associated Press. ‘The college is always honored to see its graduates and professors nominated to high profile positions where they can serve the nation.’

The nomination has not created a stir in Washington as did Bush’s first choice for secretary Linda Chavez, who withdrew her name for the nomination after it was discovered that she provided shelter and financial support for an illegal immigrant who worked in her home. In fact, the nomination has received support from both unions and prominent Democrats.

Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat of Massachusetts and temporary chairman of the Senate Health Education and Labor Committee, expressed his feelings about the nomination to the Associated Press.

‘I look forward to the [committee’s] hearing and to learning more about Ms. Chao’s views on how to preserve and advance the interests of working families,’ said Kennedy.

President of the AFL-CIO John Sweeny also seemed optimistic about the nomination.

‘[Chao] has worked with the labor movement and has experience in government, in the private sector and in public service,’ Sweeney said in a statement.

The nominee served as director of the Peace Corps in 1991 and served as Deputy Transportation Secretary in the administration of former President Bush. She was the president of the United Way of America from 1992-1996 and currently serves as at fellow at a conservative think tank called Heritage Foundation. The 47-year-old is married to Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.

Chao, an immigrant of Taiwan, said that if elected to the position, she would, ‘bring to this job the same passion for America that my father demonstrated many years ago when he first came to America.’

President Bush also announced the selection of Robert Zoellick as a U.S. trade representative and defended former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft the nominee for Attorney General and Gale Norton as his choice for Interior Secretary.

Information from the Associated Press and the Union News was used in this article.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *