In 2013 Thomas Edward Perez made history when he was sworn in as the United States Secretary of Labor, the position made Perez the first Dominican-American man to hold the position. By all appearances many would consider this the culmination of a career in public service. Not if your Tom Perez!
From his efforts in civil rights enforcement to consumer protection, Perez has spent his entire life laboring for the public good. He put himself through Brown University with the help of scholarships, grants and a job as a trash collector. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School with the highest honors. Add to that a Masters of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and you have an educational trifecta.
In the workforce Perez’s drive and work ethic was no different. He began his law career as a law clerk then spent 12 years in federal public service, the bulk of said time was spent at the U.S. Department of Justice with not one, but two stints as a federal prosecutor for the Civil Rights Division, where he would tackle issues such as voter identification laws and even open an investigation into to local Florida authorities handling of the Trayvon Martin case.
In 2017, after his tenure as U.S. Labor Secretary was complete, he took the fight to another frontier. The political one. After the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election, the Democratic National Committee had a vacuum in leadership. Spirit, enthusiasm and a new way forward were in dire need. Enter Tom Perez. In a hotly contested election against rival Keith Ellison, Perez emerged victorious after two rounds of voting. The victory saw Perez making history yet again, this time by becoming the first Dominican-American to chair the Democratic National Committee.