Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Tuesday praised President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Elaine L. Chao as transportation secretary – an official the Democratic governor is likely to lobby.

“The health of our nation’s transportation system is integral to our economic prosperity. We need a strong leader and partner at the helm of the federal Department of Transportation who understands the importance of our infrastructure to the vitality of our communities and industries,” Malloy said. “Secretary Chao’s considerable experience as deputy secretary of transportation and as secretary of labor is encouraging, and we look forward to working with her should she be confirmed.”

Trump’s proposal to make major federal investments in transportation infrastructure has been one of the few policy initiatives welcomed by Malloy, a Democratic governor who has his own long list of overdue transportation projects in Connecticut.

Transportation advocates hope that Chao’s previous cabinet experience as George W. Bush’s labor secretary and her marriage to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will help Trump get a friendlier hearing in Congress for infrastructure spending.

Both Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman earlier Tuesday strongly criticized the choice of Congressman Tom Price for secretary of health and human services because of his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and efforts to strip funding from Planned Parenthood, an organization that Malloy says deserves some of the credit for a 50 percent reduction in teen pregnancies in Connecticut over the past eight years.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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