Thomas E. Perez Expected to Face Tough Questions over Past Record

Thomas E. Perez

latinovationsBy Latinovations

During his confirmation hearing today, Secretary of Labor nominee Thomas E. Perez is expected to face tough questions from Republican critics about his tenure as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Perez’s actions are being questioned following what critics saw as a reputation for being an “aggressive regulator,” and for pushing policies that “annoyed” many employers, while many Democratic committee members say that Perez’s actions “weren’t unusual.”

“Some people don’t like Tom Perez precisely because he is passionate about enforcing our civil rights laws and protecting people’s rights,” says Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, the Democratic Committee Chairman. “In my view, that passion makes him more, not less, qualified to be secretary of labor.”

As previously reported on La Plaza, if Perez is confirmed as the next Secretary of Labor, he would be the first and only Latino on President Obama’s second-term Cabinet team.

Jaime Contreras, Vice President of the Service Employees International Unionwarned Republican critics that challenging Perez’s nomination would risk having Latino voters favor their way.

“If Republicans come out hard against the nomination of one of the few Latinos in the administration in a very antagonistic way… the consequences are going to be at election time,” says Contreras. “We take pride in Tom because this guy has tried to be fair to all people.”

This article was first published in Latinovations.

[Photo by Center for American Progress]

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