By Rafael Collazo, Director, Political Campaigns, NCLR
Spring is in full bloom, and Washington is warming up for sure. While at home we clean out our garages and tidy up the house, Americans are raising the temperature on Congress to do some spring cleaning of their own. Thankfully, legislative momentum is on the rise inside the beltway. With the Senate likely taking up gun control and immigration this week, there is much to keep an eye on.
In the midst of this busy season, another major event in Congress is fast approaching: on Thursday, Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, will have his Senate nomination hearing to potentially become the next Secretary of Labor.
From the facts alone, this hearing should be a mere formality. Perez has impeccable credentials from a lifetime of public service. In his tenure as chief of the Civil Rights Division, he has focused his energies on full enforcement of civil rights statutes that protect the rights of homeowners, the disabled, minority voters, military families, and victims of hate crimes. Proper enforcement of these programs provides a great benefit to the quality of life of Hispanic families and all Americans. Perez also has a compelling personal story as the son of immigrant parents and he would be the first Dominican American in the U.S. Cabinet.
Despite his stellar resume, some right-wing activists and a few senators have attacked Perez through critiques that stray from the facts and fail to reflect his history as an accomplished consensus builder. We hope that the upcoming Senate confirmation hearing will cool off the debate and make it clear that Thomas Perez is eminently qualified to serve as our nation’s Secretary of Labor. I have mentioned to my dear Dominican friends that their “Sotomayor moment” is coming. Let’s hope so.