2nd LD Writethru: Obama nominates Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary
WASHINGTON, Mar 18, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
U.S. President Barack Obama on
Monday tapped Thomas Perez, the federal assistant attorney general
for civil rights, as the new Labor Secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would be the first Hispanic
chosen for Obama's second-term cabinet, succeeding Hilda Solis,
who stepped down in January.
Perez, 51, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic,
has been put in charge of the Civil Rights Division with the
Justice Department since 2009. He previously also served as the
Secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and
Regulation, and was the first Latino elected to the Montgomery
County Council in Maryland, where he served from 2002 to 2006.
Perez's "knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding
Secretary of Labor," Obama said during a White House nomination
ceremony, praising his track record at federal, state, and local
Citing his past work as a civil rights lawyer, a Senator aide
and a member of the Montgomery County Council, Obama said "Tom
fought for a level playing field where hard work and
responsibility are rewarded and working families can get ahead."
Perez's nomination has been expected for days, and would be
hailed by Hispanic groups and organized labor.
While urging the Senate to confirm Perez's nomination as
quickly as possible, Obama mentioned some of his own initiatives,
including an overhaul of immigration laws and an increase in the
"We need to build an immigration system that works for every
employee and every family and every business. I am confident that
Tom is going to be able to work to promote economic growth, but
also make sure that growth is broad-based," Obama said.
Obama also lauded Perez's work in implementing the country's
first statewide living-wage law when he served as Secretary of
Maryland's Department of Labor, as well as his effort in help
settling some of the largest cases on unfair mortgage lending.
As a lawyer with a degree from Harvard Law school, Perez used
to serve as head of civil rights enforcement at the Health and
Human Services Department under former U.S. President Bill
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