Mar 11 2013
President Barack Obama is expected to tap Thomas Perez, the head of the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, to serve as his next labor secretary. The appointment would make Perez the only Latino in the president’s second-term cabinet.
Multiple media reports have indicated that Perez is Obama’s likely pick to become the next head of the Department of Labor. Perez, 51, previously served as Maryland’s labor secretary between 2007 and 2009 before joining the U.S. Justice Department. The White House declined to comment on these reports.
If selected and confirmed by the Senate, Perez would replace former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who resigned from the administration in January. Another Latino cabinet official, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is expected to leave his position by the end of this month. Ernest Moniz, Obama’s nominee for energy secretary, is the grandson of Portugese immigrants from the Azores islands.
The news of Perez’s impending appointment comes after Latino groups pressured the administration to appoint Latinos to fill vacant cabinet roles.
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 30 large advocacy groups, sent a letter to Obama in January recommending that he select three Latinos to serve in cabinet-level positions. The letter provided a list of 18 potential nominees, including Perez.