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Public Statements

Perez Nomination

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I want to speak briefly about our vote today to confirm Thomas Perez as our next Secretary of Labor, and I want to touch on a couple of reasons, of separate reasons, this particular confirmation is so important for this body and for our country.

First, something we have talked about for several days here is providing the President and his administration with the team he needs to help our country grow, for our economy, our families, and communities in every one of our home States. Filling the position of Labor Secretary could not be more important. We all rely on the Department of Labor to do a lot of important work for American workers and American businesses--providing critical workforce development and job training services to help get people back to work or into better jobs, making sure we have high workplace safety standards, improving conditions and opportunities for women, and helping our service men and women find good jobs when they come home. Our country and our economy are stronger when the Department of Labor has a talented, qualified leader at the reins.

That brings me to the second reason why this vote is so important, and that is the tremendous nominee we have before us today. In Thomas Perez, the President has nominated someone who will bring passion and integrity and a lifetime of experience to this very important position. Like so many Americans, Mr. Perez comes from very humble beginnings. He is a second-generation American who put himself through college by collecting trash and working in the university dining hall. Since that time, he has spent his career fighting for working families, protecting our important civil rights laws, and turning around troubled agencies.

There is no shortage of examples to demonstrate what an effective leader Mr. Perez has been throughout his career. He took an Office of Civil Rights at HHS that had been ignored and lifeless and breathed new life into it. He reformed and rebuilt the Department of Labor in Maryland, and he walked into a very troubled Civil Rights Division at DOJ and, by all credible accounts, he returned high performance, professionalism, and integrity to that agency.

In a time when we need to do everything we can to protect and grow our shrinking middle class, Mr. Perez is exactly the right person for this job because in tough times, while we are still recovering from recession, we need strong, experienced leadership at the Department of Labor.

My colleagues here today who support his confirmation from both sides of the aisle are not alone. From his time working at the local and State and Federal level, organizations from Maryland and throughout our country have come out to strongly support him as well. That includes organizations that represent women, the LGBT community, the Hispanic community, and many more.

Finally, throughout his confirmation process, which at times has been very difficult, Mr. Perez has shown nothing but openness, transparency, respect, and the ability to work together and solve problems. That is why I will vote to confirm him today, and I urge all my colleagues to support his confirmation as well.

I yield the floor.

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