In the world of trains, Chao is regarded as a known quantity. She was deputy secretary of transportation under Bush the Elder, but she also comes from the Heritage Foundation. That think tank, as Railway Age magazine puts it, has always regarded Amtrak as a favorite piñata.
Chao is seen as anti-regulation, even, when she was labor secretary under Bush the Younger, anti-safety regulation. She is Republican to the core, and the GOP has a long history of favoring roads over transit. So far I can’t find evidence that Chao holds that view herself. The driving issue may be that we’re a predominantly blue state.
Chao has a reputation for remembering who did and didn’t contribute to her husband’s campaigns. Her husband is Senate President Mitch McConnell.
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