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Obama to nominate Labor pick today

Thomas Perez would replace Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman and the nation’s first Hispanic labor secretary.

REUTERS/File

Thomas Perez would replace Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman and the nation’s first Hispanic labor secretary.

WASHINGTON — Seeking to fill yet another second-term Cabinet vacancy, President Obama will nominate Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general, to be the next secretary of labor on Monday, the White House says.

If confirmed by the Senate, Perez, who has been head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division for 3½ years, would take over the Labor Department as Obama undertakes several worker-oriented initiatives, including an overhaul of immigration laws and an increase in the minimum wage.

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Before taking the job as assistant attorney general, Perez was secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, which enforces state consumer rights, workplace safety, and wage and hour laws.

In choosing the 51-year-old Perez, the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Obama would be placing an already high-ranking Hispanic official in a Cabinet slot. Perez, a lawyer with a degree from Harvard Law School, would replace Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman and the nation’s first Hispanic labor secretary.

Perez’s nomination has been expected for weeks, and comes with vigorous support from among labor unions and Latino groups.

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