Thomas Perez has been confirmed by the Senate as the Secretary of Labor today by a vote of 54-46. He had previously served in the Department of Justice Civil Rights division. The son of Dominican immigrants succeeds former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and becomes the first Dominican-American cabinet level secretary.
Perez was nominated for the Secretary of Labor position back in March, but the nomination had been held up GOP blocks on votes for presidential nominees. Earlier this week, some Republicans struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to allow votes on some of these nominees.
Yesterday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sent a letter to colleagues in the Senate urging them to confirm Perez.
Alex Nogales, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, sent out a congratulatory statement on Perez’s confirmation.
“After much delay, I am pleased to learn that the Senate has confirmed Tom Perez. Throughout his career he has proven to be a thoughtful and fair professional with an aptitude for justice. Tom is a distinguished public servant. During his time at the Department of Justice he fought to enforce the civil rights of all people in the United States,” Nogales stated. “I am heartened to know that President Obama will have such an excellent advisor by his side in the Cabinet, and I hope that Mr. Obama will continue to focus on appointing Latinos and Latinas to his Cabinet and to other high-ranking positions.”
At this point, look for activists in the Latino community to continue questioning the administration on diversity and Latino appointments. Latino appointments might become a bigger issue if immigration reform, a big issue for the community, stalls.