Elaine Chao in latest batch of confirmation hearings Wednesday

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WASHINGTON (WYMT) - A rare moment as the sitting Senate majority leader introduces his own wife to testify before Congress.

Credit: Gray DC

Elaine Chao appeared before a Senate committee Wednesday for her confirmation hearing. She is President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for transportation secretary.

"The nominee before us is extraordinarily well qualified, incredibly capable and she's got really great judgment,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell.

It was a light-hearted moment- between Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao.

“I’ll be working to lock in the majority leader’s support tonight over dinner,” said Chao.

McConnell introduced his wife at her confirmation hearing to join President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet.

“She's going to do good things for our country. She's going to make the commonwealth of Kentucky proud,” said McConnell.

It was a family affair inside the hearing room. Chao thanked her father who immigrated to America from Asia, giving an 8-year-old Chao a new life.

The discussion then turned to her extensive resume. Chao served in both Bush administrations. She says she’s eager to get to work helping improve America’s infrastructure in the next presidency. Trump is proposing to spend one trillion dollars to upgrade roads, bridges and highways.

“The Department of Transportation has a key role in modernizing our transportation systems, strengthening our nations competitiveness and improving our quality of life,” said Chao.

Members of the committee believe Chao will be confirmed with an easy bipartisan vote, but that didn't mean some lawmakers weren’t ready to grill the nominee.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz got right to the issues plaguing his state, which he says those in Washington often forget about.

“When it comes to shipping when it comes to aviation when it comes to even surface transportation our roads and our highways everything is different. We need that attention from the federal government that understands that Hawaii is really a unique place,” said Schatz.

Kentucky’s other senator, Rand Paul, who also introduced Chao, voiced similar concerns. He thinks having a fellow Kentuckian in the cabinet could be great for his state.

“Well you know we need roads, we need bridges and having an advocate from our state is certainly good. I know she has to advocate for the whole country,” said Paul.

Members of the committee will hold a vote on Chao’s nomination. It could go to the senate floor as early as January 20th.

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