Disability advocates praise Obama’s Labor pick

Thomas Perez

The front man of the Obama’s Administration’s efforts to enforce disability discrimination laws was nominated by the the President on March 18 to be the next head of the Department of Labor, much to the delight of disability rights advocates.

Thomas Perez
Thomas Perez

For the past four years, Thomas E. Perez has served as the head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

“People with disabilities have an unemployment rate that is almost double that of individuals without a disability and a workforce participation rate more than three times less,” said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network, in a news release. “Tom Perez has the skills and experience to help this country get people with disabilities working in competitive, integrated jobs.

“Tom Perez’s experience, knowledge, and career make him well qualified to be the next Secretary of Labor. The National Disability Rights Network calls on the Senate to swiftly confirm Tom Perez to be the next Secretary of Labor.”

The NRDN called Perez a “champion of voting and education rights” and praised his efforts prosecuting hate crimes, as well as his community integration and employment efforts on behalf of people with disabilities.

“As America’s economic engine continues to strengthen, Americans with disabilities need a leader at the Department of Labor who understands the unique challenges confronted by people with disabilities in the workforce. Tom’s track record on advancing dignity and equal opportunity speaks for itself. President Obama has made an outstanding choice,” stated TaKeisha Walker, director of Workplace and Leadership Initiatives with the American Association of People with Disabilities, in a news release.

Perez, a latino, has the strong support of civil rights and labor organizations, though he is likely to experience backlash from some Republicans, specifically in regard to his view on unauthorized migration.