Former Maryland Labor Secretary May Replace Solis

Thomas Perez, who was Maryland's labor secretary from 2007 to 2009, has been nominated by President Obama for U.S. labor secretary.

President Obama on March 18 nominated Thomas Perez, the U.S. Department of Justice's top civil rights enforcement official, to serve as U.S. secretary of Labor. Perez was Maryland's labor secretary from 2007 to 2009 after being appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, who himself is considered a possible 2016 Democratic presidential contender. Perez would replace Secretary Hilda Solis, and news agencies first reported he was the likely choice 10 days earlier.

Perez is expected to face questions during his Senate confirmation process about the Justice Department's actions in voting rights cases during his tenure.

He worked on hate crime legislation for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., according to The Baltimore Sun's John Fritze. Perez also worked for the University of Maryland's law school and served as the president of the Montgomery County Council in 2005, according to Fritze's March 10 article.

Perez was raised in Buffalo, N.Y. He ran for Maryland's attorney general in 2006 but "was kicked off the primary ballot by the Maryland Court of Appeals, which found he lacked the 10 years' legal experience in Maryland required by the state constitution. Perez disagreed with the decision. Douglas F. Gansler won the election that year and remains attorney general," Fritze reported.

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