Thomas Perez nominated as next Labor Secretary

Obama says nominee will promote growth; GOP is critical of choice.


President Obama nominated Thomas Perez as the next Secretary of Labor. If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Hilda Solis.

In nominating Perez, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and a former Maryland Secretary of the Department of Labor, Obama said he believed Perez would advocate for workers and families at a time when unemployment numbers still needed to improve.

“Every day we should be asking ourselves three questions. One—how do we make sure America is a magnet for good jobs? Number two—how do we equip people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And number three—how do we make sure that hard work actually pays off in a decent living?” Obama told a White House briefing in announcing Perez’ nomination.

“Tom’s knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding Secretary of Labor. And there’s plenty of work to do. We're going to have to work very hard to make sure that folks find jobs with good wages and good benefits. We've got to make sure that our veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have a chance to put their incredible skills and leadership to work at home,” Obama said. “I'm confident that Tom is going to be able to work to promote economic growth, but also make sure that that growth is broad-based. And he's going to be an integral part of our overall economic team.”

“My parents taught my four siblings and me to work hard, to give back to our community, and to make sure that the ladder of opportunity was there for those coming after us,” said Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants. “Over my career, I’ve learned that true progress is possible if you keep an open mind, listen to all sides, and focus on results. I look forward to taking these lessons with me, if confirmed, to my new role as Secretary of the Department of Labor.”

Republicans were critical of the appointment, saying Perez would face a series of challenging questions during the confirmation process. Perez was criticized in a Justice Department Inspector General Report last week.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley was quoted in USA Today stating, “Nominating somebody who is in the middle of a congressional investigation shows the president isn't very serious about working together. I'm looking forward to hearing his testimony, because there are a lot of tough questions he should answer for the American people.”

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