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Elaine Chao Heads U.S. Delegation at Uruguayan Presidential Inauguration

The U.S. Secretary of Labor will be accompanied by businesswoman Marilyn Ware and U.S. Ambassador Martin J. SIlverstein

Posted: February 23, 2005 (Updated March 1, 2005) Related item: U.S. Labor Secretary attends Uruguay's Presidential Inauguration  

U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine L. Chao, will head the official delegation from the United States representing President George W. Bush at the Uruguayan presidential inauguration to take place tuesday, March 1st.

The U.S. delegation includes Marilyn Ware, chairman emerita of the American Water Works Company, and Martin J. Silverstein, Ambassador of the United States of America in Uruguay.

U.S. Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein, Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao
Elaine L. Chao is the nation's 24th Secretary of Labor, representing a new generation of American leadership. Since her confirmation by the United States Senate on January 29, 2001, she has been dedicated to carrying out the Department of Labor's mission of inspiring and protecting the hardworking people of America. She is respected as an effective and articulate champion of the nation's contemporary workforce, acting quickly to focus the Labor Department on the modern realities of workers' lives.

When President George W. Bush nominated Elaine L. Chao, the first Asian-American woman appointed to a President's cabinet in U.S. history, he described her as an individual with “strong executive talent, compassion, and commitment to helping people build better lives.”

Secretary Chao's compassionate nature stems from her own background as an immigrant to this country at the age of eight. Her family's experience transitioning to a new country, supported by one another and the kindness of friends and neighbors, taught her that encouragement is the key to fostering independence, and that Americans are naturally compassionate people. This inspired her to dedicate most of her professional life to ensuring that people have the opportunity to pursue lives of dignity and financial independence.

As Director of the Peace Corps, she was one of the first Americans to personally embrace the people of the former communist bloc into the family of democratic nations, establishing Peace Corps programs in the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Later, as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, she restored public trust and confidence after the organization was tarnished by mismanagement and financial abuse, thus preserving the nation's largest institution of private charitable giving.

The experience she gained at the United Way helping communities address their local needs prepared her to mobilize the Department of Labor to promote pathways to economic freedom for individuals and families working to achieve the American Dream. She describes her vision for America's workforce as “one in which everyone can participate… where jobs and opportunities are available for those leaving welfare, job training is accessible for those left behind, disability never bars a qualified person from the workplace, and where parents have an easier time balancing the responsibilities of work and home.”

Secretary Chao's previous government career includes serving as the Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, and Deputy Maritime Administrator in the U.S. Department of Transportation. She brings a wealth of business experience to the post, having worked as Vice President of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp. Prior to her nomination as Secretary, she expanded her study of policy as a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research and educational institute. She was selected as a White House Fellow in 1983.

Secretary Chao received her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and her undergraduate degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College. She also studied at M.I.T., Dartmouth College, and Columbia University. Active in many volunteer activities, Secretary Chao has received numerous awards for her professional accomplishments and community service. She is the recipient of 24 honorary doctoral degrees from colleges and universities around the world.

Secretary Chao is married to the Assistant Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Marilyn Ware
Marilyn Ware is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ware Family Office, which designs and initiates business ventures to benefit an extended family group. In 2003, she retired as Chairman of the Board of American Water Works Company (NYSE), following 15 years of service and upon the sale of the company to RWE, AG of Germany. During her chairmanship the market cap rose from $512 million to $4.6 billion. She remains involved as a member of the Economic Advisory Board of RWE and a member of the International Advisory Council of Thames Water, Plc., RWE's global water subsidiary based in London.

Ms. Ware is a member of the Board of Directors of CIGNA Corporation and chairs the Corporate Governance Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of IKON Office Solutions, both Fortune 500 companies.

During 2002, Ms. Ware accepted an appointment by President George W. Bush to serve as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Ms. Ware is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C. She also serves on the Board of Penn Medicine and its Executive Committee (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Health System in Philadelphia, PA). In 2003, she joined the Abramson Institute Board, an integral component of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a trustee of Eisenhower Fellowships in Philadelphia, a member of the Pew Oceans Commission and the National Council of the Conservation Fund.

A former newspaper publisher and a contributing author, Ms. Ware is also a political activist with an interest in numerous stewardship issues. She is the parent of three adult children.


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