"Onetime labor and transportation secretary Elaine" NYT crossword answer is:CHAO (4 letters length)
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Elaine Chao is an American politician who served as the United States Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009 and as the United States Secretary of Transportation from 2017 to 2021 under the Trump administration. She is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to a President's Cabinet in U.S. history. Chao has a long and distinguished career in public service, and her appointment to the Cabinet was widely praised. She is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.