Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

Thomas Perez is the Man. Ignore the Haters.

There are two things you need to know about Thomas Perez, the man nominated by President Obama to be the new Secretary of Labor: 1) Thomas Perez is the man. 2) the GOP will denounce Thomas Perez because he is the man (or because he was nominated by Obama).

To point 1)

As secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor from 2006 to 2009 he led early efforts to investigate and combat the devastating impact of foreclosures on working families; he also successfully spearheaded legislation to crack down on the misclassification of employees in Maryland as independent contractors, a label that was often misused by employers to deny fair pay and benefits.

At the federal level, he has led the civil rights departments of both the Department of Health and Human Services and, from 2009 to present, the Department of Justice, where he has aggressively handled cases on fair lending discrimination, police abuse, human trafficking and voting rights.

In all his roles, Mr. Perez has displayed an ethos and a skill set that reflects the mission of the Labor Department, namely, to bring the force and protections of the law to bear in upholding and advancing the rights and opportunities of working people.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Not for Republicans. To point 2)

There were early signs that Republican senators could raise objections to the confirmation of Perez.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama called Perez “the wrong man for this job” and criticized him for being too aggressive helping undocumented immigrants find work as part of an advocacy group called Casa de Maryland.

“His views on illegal immigration are far outside the mainstream,” Sessions said in a statement.

Senator David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, said he would block Perez’s nomination until the Justice Department answered questions about enforcement of the National Voter Registration Act in his state.

Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was concerned about Perez’s role in persuading the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, to withdraw a Fair Housing Act case from the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

The case would have tested protections for racial minorities against predatory lending. Some federal officials feared the conservative-dominated court might have issued a decision curtailing those protections.

It’s hard to identify whether Perez is truly unpalatable to the GOP or whether the idea of someone being nominated by a guy named Obama is what they abhor. Above, a graphic created by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) makes for a useful share on Twitter and Facebook.


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