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By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2017 (Washington  D.C.) – President Donald Trump has announced a new nominee to head up the Department of Labor, following  fast food executive Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal of his nomination.  The new nominee, Alexander Acosta, has extensive experience in labor and the law.  If confirmed by the Senate,  Acosta will also be the first Hispanic in Trump’s cabinet.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Acosta is currently dean of the law school at Florida International University. In addition, he served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito back when Alito was an appellate judge.   Acosta received his law degree from Harvard, along with an economics degree, and has also been a law school professor.

He has served on the National Labor Relations Board and led the Justice Department’s civil rights division, also serving as a U.S. Attorney in Florida during George W. Bush’s administration.

Later named Assistant Attorney General, he was endorsed by the Hispanic Bar Association and National Council of La Raza,. The latter stated, “We may not agree with everything that Mr. Acosta has done or will do, but we are certain that he is someone who will listen and act in a fair manner.”

His record has not been unblemished;  critics alleged a politicized hiring process in the Justice Department during his tenure.  Acosta also drew criticism for his defense of voter caging practices in Florida.

Trump says Acosta, “is going to be a key part of achieving our goal of revitalizing the American economy, manufacturing and labor force.”

Acosta’ s nomination has drawn praise from the head of one of the largest labor unions in the nation.

“Working people changed the game on this nomination,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement. “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 concluded.