Perez Picked as First Latino in Obama Cabinet


President Barack Obama has nominated Thomas E. Perez to be the next Secretary of Labor. It is the president’s first appointment of a Latino to a cabinet position. Perez will replace Hilda Solis, who resigned in January.
Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the president introduced Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants and a lawyer who helped pay his way through college by working as a garbage collector, to the American people.
“His story reminds us of this country’s promise, that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try,” President Obama said, according to The White House.  “And Tom has made protecting that promise — for everybody  — the cause of his life.”
Known throughout his career in public service as a consensus builder, Thomas E. Perez was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and was sworn in on October 8, 2009, the National Institute for Latino Policy posted on its website.
Perez has spent his entire career in public service. From 2002 until 2006, he was a member of the Montgomery County Council. He was the first Latino ever elected to the Council, and served as Council President in 2005. Earlier in his career, he spent 12 years in federal public service, most of them as a career attorney with the Civil Rights Division.