NALEO, NCLR Urge President Obama to Nominate Thomas E. Perez to U.S. Secretary of Labor
Perez praised for history of consensus building and record of accomplishment as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and former Maryland Labor Secretary
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) released a letter sent to President Barack Obama urging the nomination of Thomas E. Perez to Secretary of Labor:
“On behalf of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), I write to urge you to nominate Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez to the position of Secretary of Labor. Mr. Perez is a highly experienced administrator and public servant who we believe is well prepared to be an active, engaged Secretary from his first day on the job.
“The next Secretary of Labor must possess intimate knowledge of the challenges facing both workers and employers in today’s marketplace, and must be skilled at building consensus between constituencies that approach labor issues from different perspectives. Mr. Perez has the diverse experience and leadership skills needed to master the unique demands of this post. While engaging with community-based organizations that serve laborers, chairing the federal interagency Worker Exploitation Task Force, and serving as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Mr. Perez amassed an impressive record safeguarding workers, promoting economic development, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce in the state of Maryland.
“Mr. Perez’s track record of achievements demonstrates his success in unifying stakeholders around common goals that move our country forward. As a litigator at the Department of Justice, for example, Mr. Perez coordinated the successful prosecution of some of the Department’s most high profile civil rights cases, including a Texas hate crimes case involving a group of white supremacists who went on a deadly, racially motivated crime spree. As a top state official, he was a principal architect of a sweeping package of state lending and foreclosure reforms that ameliorated the foreclosure crisis in Maryland. Under his leadership, the Civil Rights Division has strengthened the nation’s democratic process by protecting the right to vote of all eligible individuals, handling more voting rights matters than at any time in the past 35 years. He also led his colleagues in establishing a new Fair Lending Unit, and reaching landmark settlements with several states that will empower thousands of Americans with disabilities to receive services in their communities, among many other accomplishments. Mr. Perez embodies the great talent that exists within the Latino community, and that must be engaged in the interest of ensuring that the federal government’s efforts and resources successfully stimulate the economy while advancing the rights of all Americans.
“We look forward to working with your Administration to support Mr. Perez’s nomination, and to add other Latino voices to your cabinet and throughout your Administration from the many skilled and qualified professionals eager to build on the extraordinary work of both Secretary Salazar and Secretary Solis.”
“Thomas Perez is an eminently qualified public servant who has the professional experience and compelling personal story to serve at the highest levels of the administration,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Mr. Perez’s impeccable legal background in civil rights issues, particularly workers’ rights, as well as his decades of service as an elected and appointed official make him uniquely prepared to address the policy complexities and management responsibilities at the Department of Labor.”
Since his appointment in 2009, Perez has steered the Civil Rights Division to prioritize the full enforcement of critical civil rights statutes such as the National Voting Rights Act, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act—all programs that have aided the Latino community tremendously. He also helped build agreement among stakeholders to settle three of the largest lending cases in the Fair Housing Act’s history, securing more money for victims of discriminatory lending practices than had been secured by the federal government in the previous 23 years combined. During his tenure, the Civil Rights Division also championed the defense of military families and victims of hate crimes.
“We are pleased to see the president once again strongly considering the nomination of a Latino candidate for this crucial position in his administration. We fully believe that Mr. Perez has the outstanding leadership and acumen to serve as Secretary of Labor,” Murguía added. “We hope that President Obama will continue to add diversity to his cabinet and consider qualified Latinos for additional cabinet positions as well as other senior-level presidential appointments.”