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Meet Tom

As the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, a longtime resident of Takoma Park, and a civil rights attorney, Tom has committed his life to protecting and expanding opportunity and ensuring justice for all Americans.  Tom is running to be your next Governor of Maryland because this is a moment of generational change that requires bold, proven leadership to build a more just and equitable future for all Marylanders.

Tom embodies the values of hard work, integrity, service, and perseverance.  He put himself through college at Brown University using pell grants and earning his tuition money in a number of jobs, including working on the back of a garbage truck. He received a B.A.  in international relations and political science, and then went on to receive his Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Tom began his career in 1989 as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where he prosecuted some of the country’s most high-profile civil rights cases bringing those who violate the civil and constitutional rights of our fellow Americans to justice.

Recognizing the value of serving his local community, Tom served on the Montgomery County Council from 2002 until 2006, and as Council President from 2005-2006, where he stood up for working families and immigrants by fighting for affordable housing and improved literacy and immigration programs throughout the county. Tom also served as the Board President for CASA de Maryland, where he was able to grow the organization from a small, local organization to one of the largest immigrant advocacy organizations in the nation.  Tom also served as a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law teaching in the Law and Healthcare program from 2001 until 2007.

In 2007, Tom was appointed to be the Maryland Secretary of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, fought wage theft, implemented Maryland’s first-in-the-nation living wage law, hired more safety and health inspectors to keep Maryland workers out of hazardous workplace conditions, and lead the charge to pass and implement mortgage and foreclosure protections for Maryland homeowners during the 2008 housing crisis.

In 2009, Tom was appointed by President Obama to lead the Civil Rights Division where he started his career, serving as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice. In this role, he made investigating systemic discrimination by police departments a top priority, lead the charge to protect voter rights by bringing significant cases under the Voting Rights Act, and prosecuted the first cases under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act, among other notable actions focused on advancing equity and justice nationwide.

At work in Justice Department

In 2013, President Obama appointed Tom to become the United States Secretary of Labor. He led an agency with more than 17,000 employees, a multi-billion dollar budget, and had a presence in every state and three territories. As he had done throughout his career, Tom spent his time as Secretary of Labor committed to expanding opportunity and lifting up those who were too often left in the shadows. During his tenure, he protected workers’ rights by enforcing the laws created to protect them on the job, advocated for nationwide paid sick and family leave leave,  pushed for every worker to be treated with dignity and paid a fair wage, and created more than 125,000 apprenticeship opportunities. He spearheaded efforts to protect workers’ retirement savings and to ensure overtime protections for hard working Americans.  One of the more notable actions from his term included helping to resolve a massive six-week Verizon strike in 2016 involving over 37,000 employees, with an agreement that included protections for Verizon’s retail workers, a victory for hardworking employees often left out from benefits.

Swearing In with VP Biden

On February 25, 2017, Tom became the first Latino to chair the Democratic National Committee, guiding the party through a successful Presidential campaign as well as continuing to fight for a better America.

Perez Family

Tom and his wife, Ann Marie Staudenmaier, have raised their three children, Amalia, Susana, and Rafa, in Takoma Park with their dog Bubba.

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