By Pat Warren

WASHINGTON (WJZ) — President Barack Obama nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to the position of Labor Secretary. Perez is a former member of Governor Martin O’Malley’s cabinet.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports he now faces confirmation by the Senate.

President Barack Obama tapped Perez for U.S. Labor Secretary.

“And this is not the first time he’s chosen to be a Labor Secretary, either. We’ve got here today Governor Martin O’Malley and Martin appointed Tom as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor,” said Obama.

Perez first gained statewide attention in 2006 in the field of candidates to replace retiring Maryland Attorney General Joe Curran.

“Over my career, I’ve learned that true progress is possible if you keep an open mind, listen to all sides and focus on results,” said Perez.

As Maryland Labor Secretary, he helped navigate through the foreclosure crisis and currently heads the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“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 so his story reminds us of this country’s promise,” said Obama.

Colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore are thrilled with the nomination.

“Tom has a long history of being a committed person in providing access to justice to those who don’t ordinarily get recognized and have the opportunity to have good counsel,” said University of Maryland School of Law Dean Phoebe Haddon.

“In the coming weeks as the confirmation process unfolds, I look forward to meeting with senators of both parties to discuss the Labor Department’s key role: protecting and growing the middle class,” said Perez.

Republicans appear set to challenge Perez on his record as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division for the past three and a half years.

Perez would replace Hilda Solis, who is the nation’s first Hispanic Labor Secretary.

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