November 17, 2017

Alexander Acosta Our New Secretary of Labor

Alexander Acosta.jpgThe first Hispanic and Cuban American member of President Trump’s cabinet.

Rene Alexander “Alex” Acosta, age 48, was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Department of Labor. He is married to Jan, has two children, and lives in Coral Gables, Florida.

On April 28, 2017, Alex Acosta was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Department of Labor. He became the first Hispanic and Cuban American member of President Trump’s cabinet. After the confirmation of Alex Acosta, all major government departments have been confirmed, with the exception of the vacant position of United States trade representative. However, there are many sub cabinet appointments that are still vacant.

Alex Acosta was confirmed on a 60-38 vote by the Senate. Randy Johnson, senior vice president for labor issues at the United States Chamber of Commerce, said the following: “We need people at the Labor Department who have a grasp of the needs of the private sector. Alex Acosta will bring an understanding of these issues to the department.”

On February 16, 2017, President Donald J. Trump announced his nominee, R. Alexander Acosta, to head the Department of Labor. The president previous choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew himself from consideration for the Labor Department the previous day. Several Republican senators said they could not vote for Mr. Puzder due personal controversies that emerged.

Alex Acosta was born January 16, 1969 in Miami, Florida. He is the only son of Cuban American parents. He was appointed in 2009 dean of the Law School at Florida International University. At the same time Acosta became the new chairman of Century Bank, the largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank in Florida and one of the 15 largest Hispanic community banks in the nation.

Acosta was named by President George W. Bush for a position on the National Labor Relations Board, and later served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He was confirmed by the Senate in these three appointments.

According to Wikipedia, as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Acosta prosecuted a number of high-profile defendants, including Jack Abramoff for fraud and José Padilla for terrorism. He prosecuted the Swiss bank UBS resulting in UBS paying $780 million in fines, and the bank provided the United States Treasury with the names of individuals who were using secret Swiss bank accounts to avoid taxes in the United States. Acosta prosecuted successfully the founders of the Cali, Colombia Cartel Miguel and Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela for bringing 200,000 kilos of cocaine, which resulted in $2.1 billion forfeiture. Under Alex Acosta’s leadership, his department attacked health care fraud and because the top district in the nation in health care fraud prosecution, charged more than 700 individuals responsible for more than $2 billion in fraud.

Alex Acosta has an excellent education background and experience. He received a B.S. degree in economics from Harvard and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. In 1994, following law school Acosta served as a law clerk for one year to Samuel Alito (a justice of the Supreme Court), who was at the time a judge on the Third District Court of Appeals. Acosta then worked at the law firm Kirkland and Ellis in Washington. D.C., where he specialized in employment and labor issues. Acosta taught classes at George Mason University School of Law on employment and civil right law.

On February 16, 2017, Eric Morath wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the record of public service by Acosta stands in sharp contrast to that of Andy Puzder, the executive who was forced to withdraw for consideration to the Labor Department. Acosta’s nomination is “off to a good start,” because he has been previously cleared by the Senate, said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican from Tennessee and the chairman of the committee overseeing the confirmation. “He has an impressive work and academic background,” Senator Alexander said. “I look forward to exploring his views on how American workers can best adjust to the rapidly changing workplace.” Morath explained President Trump said Alex Acosta would be “tremendous” in the job, noting his credential as a Harvard-educated attorney.

Jay Weaver, Patricia Mazzei and Nicholas Nehamas wrote in the Miami Herald that Republican Senator Marco Rubio called Alex Acosta a “phenomenal choice.” Senator Rubio said in a statement, “I look forward to his confirmation hearing, where I’m confident he will impress my colleagues and secure the support necessary to be the next secretary of labor.” South Florida’s three Representatives— U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — praised Alex Acosta’s experience and personality. Congressman Diaz-Balart said “He is a man of great principle, integrity, and courage, and I am confident he will do an excellent job serving our nation.”

Conclusion

President Donald J. Trump has made an excellent decision in nominating Alex Acosta to the Department of Labor. Now that Alex Acosta has been confirmed by the Senate, his cabinet is more representative of the nation by adding a Hispanic of Cuban origin.

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