Trump Shows Silicon Valley Love With Transportation Secretary Pick


President-elect Donald Trump’s minuscule support from Silicon Valley compared to his general election opponent hasn’t dissuaded him from throwing a booming part of the tech sector some love, his choice for transportation secretary shows.

Transportation Secretary

This week Trump named as his pick to head the Department of Transportation Elaine Chao, who brings eight years of cabinet experience to the Trump White House from her time as labor secretary throughout the entire George W. Bush administration. Chao also has experience in the Transportation Department, where she acted as deputy secretary for the George H.W. Bush administration. The nominee is married to Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Senate, where she’ll face a confirmation hearing.

Chao will be charged with heading up a crucial revamp of decaying and failing transportation infrastructure across the country. Her selection also sends a friendly sign to a booming sharing economy sector of the transportation market centered in Silicon Valley, where Trump saw little traction during election season as a result of his contentious views on certain tech issues.

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“Literally millions of people today participate in the digitally-enabled, peer-to-peer economy,” Chao said at an American Action Forum event last November in a speech discussing the sharing and gig economies. “So it is legitimate to ask if the regulatory solutions of the past– crafted by big government for big business– are appropriate for a peer-to-peer economy that is fluid, flexible and filled with workers who prefer independent arrangements.”

Chao said American workers no longer spend “the majority of their lives in one establishment or one profession,” and advocated loosening decades-old regulations governing how companies treat workers.

“Most of the major laws creating these programs were enacted during the depression era, the 1950’s or the 1970’s,” Chao told attendees. “At the time, they addressed important social issues such as child labor, industrial accidents, and the need to strengthen union democracy. But the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which created the 40 hour workweek among other key reforms, is 77 years old. The Landrum Griffin Act mandating union financial transparency is 56 years old. T