Local July 18, 2013 | 3:20 pm

Dominican-American elected officials laud historic confirmation of Thomas Pérez for US labor secretary

New York.– Months after his nomination by President Obama, U.S. elected officials of Dominican heritage celebrated the confirmation of Thomas Perez. The U.S. Senate’s approval makes Perez the first Cabinet Secretary of Dominican heritage.

The U.S. Dominican population is principally concentrated in the Northeast; the top states by population are New York, New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Nearly half of the U.S. Dominican population immigrated in the 1990s or later. At nearly 1.5 million, they now comprise the fifth largest Latino or Hispanic group.

“This is a terrific day for all Dominicans, especially parents who now have a new model to tell their kids about,” said New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights). “Perez’s parents fled the brutality of the Trujillo regime to seek freedom in the U.S., and initially settled in the Washington Heights community I represent. Through education and hard work, he has become a classic American success story. While his confirmation process was delayed by Washington gridlock, Dominican-Americans from across the country have been routing for him and this is a terrific moment.”

"After finally winning the confirmation Thomas Perez to the post of Secretary of Labor, the Dominican community is proud of this strong leader and fully recognizes the significance of this historic moment, where we see the first Dominican American ever confirmed to a cabinet level post,” said New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. This is a watershed moment in the experience of Dominicans in the U.S. and announces to the country, we will be active in this country at a national level for generations to come."

“Washington Heights and the entire Dominican diaspora is proud of Secretary Perez for making history,” said Assemblymember Gabriela Rosa. “He will be a terrific Labor Secretary, and work to protect the rights of all people.”

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