- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2009

History will judge President Bush’s administration kindly. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the president’s focus and determination kept our country safe throughout his tenure, an accomplishment few would have predicted on Sept. 12, 2001.

On the domestic front, the president’s vision of an ownership society in which empowered workers are able to achieve greater independence and become more competitive in the 21st-century global economy formed the foundation of the Labor Department’s new initiatives.

The president’s pro-growth agenda of reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens that hamper job creation and updating department regulations to better reflect the realities of today’s modern work force was a road map for many policy actions.

These included clarifying the white-collar overtime regulations for the first time in more than 40 years, as well as updating regulations that required labor organizations to file annual financial disclosure, conflict of interest and self-dealing reports to better protect rank-and-file members.

Utilizing a multi-pronged approach, this administration also achieved the best health and safety record for workers in decades.

The president’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives started innovative programs, such as the Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative, which gave ex-offenders a second chance at life.

Finally, the Labor Department launched initiatives that expanded workers’ access to relevant job training and employment opportunities in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

On a personal note, my parents, sisters and I immigrated to America from Asia decades ago to seek a better life. The fact that Mr. Bush chose their daughter to be the first Asian-Pacific American woman to serve in the Cabinet in U.S. history vindicates the many sacrifices my parents made to bring our family to this land of hope and opportunity.

- Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary.

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