Secretary Elaine Chao's American Dream

When Elaine Chao was eight years old she moved to a foreign country called the United States of America and didn't speak English.

"Our family's story is really reflective of the millions of stories that occur throughout America and it's a wonderful statement about what America stands for. America stands for openness, hope, and opportunity," said Secretary Chao.

After 37 days on a cargo ship Secretary Chao, her sisters, and her mother moved to New York City to live with her father who had moved to America three years before. They lived in a one bedroom apartment and didn't have much.

"We had the most important things in life and that was family, faith, and belief in America," said Secretary Chao.

It was Secretary Chao's belief in America that helped her achieve her goal of holding some very prominent positions. She's the former United Way of America President and CEO and the former Peace Corps Director.

She's also the first Asian-Pacific woman to be appointed to the president's cabinet in U.S. history. She served as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush.

"It's a great honor to serve the American people and for an immigrant like myself, who understood so little about America when I first came, it was a great privilege to be able to enter the president's cabinet," said Secretary Chao.

Secretary Chao wants to work with immigrants to help them achieve their American dream.

"I feel a great sense of responsibility as well to help those who are disenfranchised, those who feel vulnerable, those who feel as if they don't have a chance in mainstream America to demonstrate to them and to show them that this country is very fair and very open and that dreams are possible," said Secretary Chao.


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