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Confirmation Vote Next Week on Nominee for U.S. Labor Secretary

PHOTO: The nomination of Tom Perez as Labor Secretary will go up for a vote next week in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
PHOTO: The nomination of Tom Perez as Labor Secretary will go up for a vote next week in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
May 2, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A confirmation vote on Thomas Perez, President Obama's nominee for Labor Secretary, now is set for next week.

As an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, Perez is noted for his work to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to the polls, according to Sarah Sampson, communications specialist for the Tennessee Disability Coalition.

"And he's played a big role to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act," she said. "This is a cornerstone of disability rights. And he has created new opportunities for thousands of people with disabilities to live in their own homes and communities through issuing these regulations."

Next Wednesday's vote on Perez's nomination will be held in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is the ranking Republican.

Having the Department of Labor led by someone who understands the needs of the disability community for employment is vital, Sampson said.

"Just this weekend, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published new data," she said. "I believe only 20.7 percent of people with disabilities are in the workforce, and over half of people who aren't in the workforce, who have disabilities, say that they want to go to work."

Republicans have criticized Perez for declining to intervene in a whistle-blower case, but Perez said he had approval from senior Justice Department officials and that the deal reached in the end was in the best interest of the nation.

More information on Perez is online at justice.gov/crt/aag.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN