Good afternoon everyone. I haven’t written a diary in a couple of years so please judge me lightly (just kidding). I wanted to make a shout out to DKOS users: SJohnson, Arabian, Lysis, and El Mito. Your diaries gave me something to look forward to during this crazy primary cycle! Thank you for all of your hard work!!
I’m ready to start ‘vetting VP’s and my first VP choice is a Cabinet member of the Obama Administration. If you haven't heard much about his bio and political history you are in for a treat!
Please comment on your thoughts about Tom Perez as HRC VP Pick!! Thanks
Thomas Perez is the 26th Secretary of Labor.
Born in Buffalo, New York, on October 7, 1961, Thomas Edward Perez was the youngest of four children born to Rafael and Grace (née Brache) Perez, who had emigrated from the Dominican Republic. Rafael, a physician who earned U.S. citizenship by joining the U.S. Army during World War II, practiced medicine at a VA hospital and died when Thomas was 12 years old. His maternal grandfather, Rafael Brache, was the Dominican ambassador to the U.S. until his own government declared him persona non grata for criticizing the regime of President Rafael Trujillo, a notorious dictator. (Source Facebook and Ballotpedia)
Perez received a bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1983. In 1987, he received a master's of public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School.
He lives in Maryland wife, Ann Marie Staudenmaier, an attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and their three children: Amalia, Susana, Rafael.
Perez served Sen. Ted Kennedy as special counsel and principal advisor on civil rights and criminal justice. Perez was involved in the successful passage of the Church Arson Prevention Act in 1996, and in the development of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act
From 2006-2009 Tom Perez served as Secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) after teaching law at the University of Maryland School of Law. As Secretary, Perez championed reforms to Maryland’s workforce to expand training and educate unemployed and underemployed workers.
From the Hill — He ensured that workforce development efforts were inclusive of all Marylanders, and fit the needs of both workers and businesses – whether it was re-training ex-offenders transitioning out of jail and into a new life; helping qualified foreign-born nurses get licensed so they could help meet immediate hospital needs; or strengthening Science Technology, Engineering and Math education for workers in Maryland’s high tech sector.
He took a creative and innovative approach to expanding training options for dislocated workers, veterans, and low-wage, low-skilled and non-English speaking adults, including those who needed better reading, math or English-language skills.
Perez brought together all those with a vested interest in a better skilled workforce – businesses, workers, educators, union leaders and community and support service providers – to find solutions that were good for workers, helped businesses grow, and strengthened Maryland’s economy.
After Republicans performed their favorite party trick, blocking President Obama’s nominees regardless of the office, Perez was confirmed by the Senate on July 18, 2013, by a vote of 54-46.
Key Stances on Issues
Minimum Wage: NPR & Washington Times
In 2014 — Mr. Perez said, during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” that people who work a full-time job shouldn’t have to live in poverty — as the Obama administration pushes to crank up pressure on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index the rate to inflation.
Asked whether Mr. Obama’s proposed wage bump would kill jobs, Mr. Perez said that after talking to small businesses across the country and investigating the issue, he is convinced it will not.
“Overwhelmingly, the evidence is that is not the case,” he said.
Feb 2015 — Perez, “We're continuing to fight for the 12 by 20 minimum wage proposal of Congressman Bobby Scott and Sen. Patty Murray. And at the same time, we're setting the example at the federal government. So if you want to do business with the federal government, you have to pay a decent minimum wage - $10.10 - now it went to $10.15.”
Paid Family Leave: Perez — Secretary Perez agrees that paid family leave is not only the right thing for our country, it’s also a sensible economic strategy for boosting labor force participation, something that’s critical to sustained economic growth and shared prosperity. It’s a false choice to assume you can either have a thriving business or flexible workplace policies.
Supports Paid Family and Medical Leave
Voter ID & Immigration: Think Progress
Perez has built his career on fighting against discrimination especially in places where voter ID laws are retrogressive.
From Brown Alumni Magazine — Perez, for example, fought new voter-identification laws in South Carolina and Texas that critics labeled attempts to suppress the Democratic-leaning minority vote. He challenged state laws targeting illegal immigrants in Alabama and Arizona. He sued the notoriously anti-immigrant Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio for racially profiling Latinos. He investigated the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and launched a record number of probes into unconstitutional police practices. Perez advocated for Muslims in the workplace and championed the Americans with Disabilities Act. And he landed the three largest settlements in the history of the Fair Housing Act, from mortgage lenders who “used the corrosive power of fine print,” as he put it, to take advantage of people of color disproportionately.
Workplace Hazards: Washington Times
“Labor Dept. Cuts allowable levels of coal dust” — Today we advance a very basic principle: you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your life for your livelihood,” Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said. “But that’s been the fate of more than 76,000 miners who have died at least in part because of black lung since 1968.” The rule by the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration lowers the overall dust standard from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air. For certain mine entries and miners with black lung disease, the standard is cut in half, from 1.0 to 0.5. The rule also increases the frequency of dust sampling, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. In addition, coal mine operators will be required to use new technology to provide real-time dust levels. The requirements will be phased in over two years.
Perez, "LGBT individuals not being currently protected against discrimination in the workplace is perhaps one of the most gaping holes in our nation’s civil rights laws.”
Supports ENDA — The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is legislation proposed in the United States Congress that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees.
Criminal Justice — Anti-Recidivist, Pro-Rehabilitation, Closing the Revolving Door
On Perez’s Program in his correction facility “It’s an honor to be recognized instead of always being called names,” said one current inmate who is participating in the same program. “It’s an honor to be looked at as someone other than a criminal.”
“If you’ve been to prison and paid your debt to society, you shouldn’t have to face the additional struggle of a dead-end job search. We believe reentry programs put people on a path to success and self-sufficiency. And we believe steady work is the best anti-recidivism strategy. During National Reentry Week, we reaffirm that successful reentry doesn’t just empower those who have been incarcerated; it strengthens our entire nation.” (Source Dept of Labor)
With Bill Maher, my favorite moment was at 1:06
Obama nominates Tom Perez
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