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Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I rise in support of the nomination of Patricia Smith for Solicitor of the Department of Labor. Commissioner Smith is a dynamic and effective leader with over 30 years of experience in labor law, and I am very proud to support her nomination.
She has exhibited exceptional leadership during her 10 years as New York's Labor Commissioner. In this capacity, she managed 3,700 employees in 80 offices and oversaw an annual budget of $11 billion.
In response to the current economic climate, Ms. Smith executed critical programs to reduce the impact of layoffs. She also implemented career training to assist individuals in entering high demand fields. Additionally, she has enhanced labor law enforcement in order to safeguard workers and reward responsible employers.
Commissioner Smith fully embodies the integrity and the diligence this position demands and has a wealth of experience, making her well qualified to enforce critical issues such as workplace safety and health, fair wages, equal employment opportunity, veterans protection, and retirement and health benefits.
Prior to her term as labor commissioner, she served as Chief of the Labor Bureau in the New York Attorney General's Office for 8 years. In that capacity, she established a method of labor law enforcement that other attorneys general and enforcement agencies have used as a model. She was an innovative leader here, increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the bureau by developing ethics standards, targeting enforcement efforts on an industrywide basis, and strategically focusing on workers.
Commissioner Smith's nomination, which has been pending since April, was reported with the unanimous support of all committee Democrats. Additionally, she has the enthusiastic support of labor groups, women's groups, and worker advocates. A number of prominent business organizations have also endorsed Commissioner Smith, including the Business Council of New York State, the Manufacturing Association of Central New York, the Partnership for New York, the Long Island Forum for Technology, and the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce.
Commissioner Smith has endured a rigorous vetting process and has made herself available to answer over 50 questions from our friends from the other side of the aisle and met with all interested Senators.
I urge my colleagues to move quickly to confirm Patricia Smith for Solicitor for the Department of Labor.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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