Trump to nominate Transportation Sec. Chao to Kennedy Center board

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WASHINGTON (KT) -- U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao could still have a post in Washington, once President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month.

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday his intent to nominate Chao, the wife of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville, to be a member of the Board of Trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Chao also served as labor secretary from 2001-2009 under former President George W. Bush. Other posts in Washington include deputy transportation secretary and director of the Peace Corps, all for President George H. W. Bush, as well as being appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Federal Maritime Commission, which she later chaired.  She also spent four years as president of the United Way of America.    

She would be one of 36 trustees who are appointed by the president and was one of five people nominated on Tuesday.

The Kennedy Center’s history goes back to 1958 when then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation creating a national cultural center in the nation’s capital. However, the impetus for building the center was made in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who launched a $30 million fundraising campaign for the center’s construction.

Two months after Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation naming the center after Kennedy.

According to the Center’s website, its mission is established in the language that appears in its authorizing statute:  

“Present classical and contemporary music, opera, drama, dance and other performing arts from the United States and other countries; promote and maintain the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as the National Center for the Performing Arts; strive to ensure that the education and outreach programs and policies of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts meet the highest level of excellence and reflect the cultural diversity of the United States; provide facilities for other civic activities at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and provide within the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts a suitable memorial in honor of the late president.” 

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