Mon March 18, 2013
Obama nominates Buffalo native to be labor secretary
President Barack Obama has chosen Buffalo native Thomas E. Perez, a top Justice Department official, to be the next secretary of labor, calling him a consensus builder whose ``story reminds us of this country's promise.''
The 51-year-old Perez has headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Divisions since 2009, playing a leading role in the agency's decision to challenge voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina.
He also has broad support from labor and from the latino community, although he also has Republican congressional critics who can be expected to oppose his confirmation.
If confirmed, Perez would be one of the highest ranking hispanics in the government. The previous labor secretary, Hilda Solis, resigned in January to return to her native California.
Perez was born and raised in Snyder, where his parents settled after leaving the Dominican Republic.
Perez is a 1979 graduate of Canisius High School. He went on to Brown University and Harvard Law School. His mother is a graduate of the University at Buffalo and his father worked at the Buffalo Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer released the following statement Monday after President Obama nominated Perez to be the next secretary of labor:
“It’s great news that a Western New Yorker, who was raised in Amherst and went to Canisius High School, has achieved such an important position. Thomas Perez will use Western New York commonsense and compassion to defend the middle class and ensure that hard work and dedication are duly rewarded; I look forward to his swift confirmation. The more upstate New Yorkers there are in the federal government, the better off we will be.”
With his nomination, Obama now has four cabinet-level slots to fill -- departments of commerce and transportation, the small business administration and the U.S. trade representative.