Thursday, January 25, 2001

Chao sees challenge in evolving new economy

The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Elaine Chao, chosen by President Bush to be labor secretary, told the Senate on Wednesday that it will be her goal to make sure the department keeps up with the dramatically new economy that “continues to evolve right before our eyes.”

        Ms. Chao, the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said one challenge she will focus on is training American workers for numerous unfilled high-tech positions.

        “In order to remain relevant and responsive to workers' needs, even the Department of Labor will need to adapt to the realities of the changing economy,” Ms. Chao said at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “It's not just that there's a new administration. There's a whole new world that we need to respond to.”

        Ms. Chao also said a crucial part of her responsibility will be to “fully, fairly and evenly enforce the labor laws of this country.”

        Ms. Chao was not Mr. Bush's first choice for the job. But unlike first choice Linda Chavez, who was strongly opposed by labor, Hispanic and other liberal interest groups, Ms. Chao is expected to win easy confirmation.


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