This morning, President Obama nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to succeed Hilda Solis' post as head of the Labor Department. Throughout his career as a civil rights lawyer, he has fought hard for working class families and vowed to continue on that path if confirmed. Perez would also become the first Dominican-American to ever be appointed to a cabinet-level position in the U.S. Now that's making history! Here are 5 other facts you should know about him.
His parents raised him well
Perez, 51, is the son of Dominican immigrants and grew up in Buffalo, New York. He came from humble beginnings, but his family instilled strong work ethic and education. His four siblings all became doctors while Thomas went on to become the first lawyer in his family. He graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1987 and also obtained a B.A. in international relations and political science from Brown University.
He may make history
The civil rights lawyer would be the only Latino in President Barack Obama’s second-term cabinet if confirmed for Secretary Hilda Solis’ former position. Perez started his career as a law clerk before becoming a federal prosecutor for high profile civil rights cases.
He's well respected
There's no doubt that Obama thinks he's the right man for the job and here's why - "Like to many Americans, Tom knows what it's like to climb the ladder of opportunity. He's the son of Dominican immigrants. He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse. He went on to become the first lawyer in his family," said the President during a press conference. “So his story reminds us of this country's promise, that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is, you can make it if you try.”
His resume is impressive
In 1995, he became a principal advisor on criminal justice and civil rights for Senator Edward Kennedy. He also worked as the deputy chief of the civil rights division while President Bill Clinton was in office. In addition, he served as an elected council member in Montgomery County, Md., and worked as the state’s secretary of labor, licensing, and regulation.
He's a family man
Perez is married to Ann Marie Staudenmaier, an attorney for the Washington Legal Clinic for the homeless. They have three children together and currently reside in Maryland.