Federal Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will be in Buffalo Tuesday, speaking to a meeting on job training and minority job placement in Bennett High School. The local native is being spoken about as a possible vice presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton.
Buffalo Councilmember David Rivera recently watched Perez on TV, as another local native, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, interviewed the secretary about his job and the presidential race. Saying he has met Perez once before, Rivera says he is watching the vice presidential situation closely.
"This is the year where you have Hispanics running for president. You have Marco Rubio and you have the other gentleman from Texas, [Ted] Cruz. So, there's some diversity. It goes to show you that this country is changing. It's more diverse. It's a good thing. I think we should celebrate that," Rivera told WBFO.
Perez grew up in Buffalo and went to Canisius High School before attending Brown University and receiving two degrees from Harvard. He had an extended career in government prior to becoming labor secretary. He'll be speaking Tuesday at Bennett High School.
Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner says it's a little early for probable candidate Clinton to pick a VP candidate, but Perez would be a strong choice. At the same time, the party chairman doesn't believe the vice presidential choice brings a lot to the ticket but say a bad choice can hurt, citing Sen. John McCain picking then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin in 2008.
"What I think strengthens the ticket is a vice presidential candidate that brings the Democratic values that we all believe in to the table, someone who represents our diverse party, which is the strength of our party and that would certainly be the case for Secretary Perez," Zellner told WBFO.
As Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders battle for the Democratic nomination on the New York primary ballot April 19, Clinton is widely expected to make at least one local appearance before the vote, as are Republican presidential candidates.