WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama is considering the Hispanic Thomas Perez, now assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, as the next secretary of labor, administration sources said.
The sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told the press that Obama wants his second-term Cabinet to reflect a wide coalition that includes women and minorities, blacks and Hispanics, groups that contributed to his reelection last November.
Perez, 51, has been in charge of the Justice Department’s civil rights division since 2009.
If Obama does name Perez and he is confirmed by the Senate, he will replace Hilda Solis, who stepped down in January. Solis was the first Hispanic in history to hold that position.
The president has already appointed the heads of the Treasury, Defense, Energy and State Departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Office of Budget and Management, some of which have been confirmed and have taken office.
Latino community activists in the United States hope that Obama appoints a Hispanic for at least one of the vacant positions in his Cabinet, which include Commerce and Transportation.
Up to now, the only Latina picked by Obama for one of the 23 posts in the Cabinet has been the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Edith Ramirez, as next chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission.