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February 17, 2017
Warmer reception for new labor secretary pick

President Donald Trump acted quickly following the resignation of his embattled pick for Secretary of Labor to nominate a candidate who, so far, appears to be a less contentious choice.

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R. Alexander Acosta, currently the dean of Florida International University College of Law, was nominated Thursday to replace Andrew Puzder, who withdrew his nomination in the face of considerable opposition, including from some Senate Republicans.

A native of Miami, Acosta has served in three presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed positions, including as a member of the National Labor Relations Board, as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and as a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

News of the nomination of Acosta, who would become the only Hispanic member of the Trump cabinet if confirmed, was met with a relatively positive response.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who was vocal in opposition to fast-food executive Puzder, said the new nominee “deserves serious consideration.” Trumka observed that, “In one day, we’ve gone from a fast-food CEO who routinely violates labor law to a public servant with experience enforcing it.” Trumka emphasized that the union will be reviewing Acosta’s record carefully and that the nominee “will have to answer tough questions and explain how he will enforce and uphold labor laws to benefit working people.”

Acosta’s nomination was applauded by The Latino Coalition, a Hispanic business advocacy organization. Its president, Hector Barreto, called Acosta “the right choice for this important Cabinet position.” He pointed to Acosta’s strong leadership skills and urged the Senate to confirm Acosta “in order to get more Americans working.”

According to the FIU website, Acosta serves as chairman of U.S. Century Bank, the largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank in Florida.

Department of Labor agencies include OSHA, as well as the Mine Safety and Health Administration, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Office of Disability Employment Policy, among others.

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