Acosta, Trump's Labor pick, is the right consensus candidate
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It’s difficult to find political agreement in Washington these days but one welcome ray of hope comes in President Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Labor, Alexander AcostaRene (Alex) Alexander AcostaTop aide to Labor secretary to leave amid friction with White House George Conway slams Trump for calling Biden 'creepy': You 'palled around with Jeffrey Epstein' Melania Trump expands mission of 'Be Best' on its one-year anniversary MORE.  The first Hispanic nominee to the president’s cabinet will go before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) this week.  Committee members from both parties should vote in favor of his confirmation.

Acosta is a true American success story. As the son of Cuban immigrants, he has built an impressive career as a public servant, federal prosecutor and an academic.  He has worked hard to protect and champion the rights of American workers, minorities and the underprivileged.  He serves on the Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities and was hailed as one of the 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine.

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His leadership skills are stellar.  He is tenacious, but also open-minded and fair, which has made him an attractive candidate from both sides of the aisle.  He is by definition a consensus candidate which is why he has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate three times by unanimous consent as a member of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice and as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida respectively.

 

Acosta’s service as a member of the NLRB gave him the on the job training on labor issues that will be indispensable to him as Secretary of Labor.  He has also been praised by several major unions who have issued their support for his nomination.  

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that senators should give Acosta "serious consideration" and hailed him as a public servant.  

The International Union of Operating Engineers president, James Callahan, recently told the Washington Examiner, "Mr. Acosta has proven that he can handle disparate opinions and information in order to make thoughtful decisions on difficult issues. These qualities are essential to lead an agency that is tasked with such things as protecting workers from wage theft to enforcing standards that keep them safe on the job."  

Terry O'Sullivan, president of Laborers International Union of North America, cited Acosta’s “impeccable reputation," and said "Mr. Acosta's fairness and respect for justice make him highly qualified to serve as the next Secretary of Labor.”  

International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold A. Schaitberger said that the group "always found him to be fair, reasonable and accessible" in that role.

The Department of Labor is one of the largest enforcement agencies in the U.S. government and Acosta’s impressive experience as a U.S. attorney suits him perfectly to that role.  Acosta has handled several high-profile cases including the crackdown on Cali cartel members for drug trafficking.  He also prosecuted the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff for public corruption and tax evasion.  He also convicted Al Qaeda terror plotter Jose Padilla.

Democrats who might be cautious or give pause to Acosta’s nomination need only look to those on the left who truly know him best. Ediberto Roman, Professor of Law & Director of Citizenship and Immigration Initiatives at Florida International University’s College of Law, is a proud life-long democrat dedicated to his work on social justice issues. He states, “My evaluation stems from working with the man for nearly a decade. And let me put it bluntly: Alex Acosta is a brilliant, humble, kind, ethical, and an overall outstanding leader and amazing human being.”

America’s workforce deserves the best and brightest leader to head the Department of Labor and Alex Acosta clearly fits the bill.  The Senate should not hesitate and swiftly confirm him as its next Secretary.

Hector Barreto is the Chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former U.S. Small Business Administrator.


The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.