Photo: Thomas Perez Nominated for Labor Secretary
President Obama has nominated Thomas Perez, currently at the Department of Justice (DOJ), to be his Labor Secretary. Perez, 51, requires Senate approval for the cabinet position – should he obtain it, he will be the first Hispanic in Obama’s second-term cabinet.
Perez, who thanked the President in both English and Spanish, is the son of Dominican immigrants. He has an undergraduate degree from Brown University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Currently he heads the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department, a role that Obama said highlights his skills as a “consensus builder”. At the DOJ Perez lead the fight against unfair mortgage lending practices which burdened many minorities. Perez also made a name for himself fighting against changes to voting laws and police corruption and discrimination – issues the Republican Senators may grill him on.
Prior to heading the civil rights division, a position he has had since 2009, Perez was Maryland’s Secretary of Labor.
Perez will be replacing the departing Hilda Solis, the President’s Labor Secretary in the first administation.