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Thomas Perez likely pick for labor secretary

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, A
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, A

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is likely to choose Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to be the next secretary of labor, a source familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

The choice of Perez, who is Hispanic, would be a nod to the importance of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. Hispanics voted for Obama in large margins, helping him in political swing states such as Colorado and Nevada.

Perez, currently the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, would replace Hilda Solis, the first Hispanic woman to head a major federal agency.

Perez previously served as secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Another Hispanic leader, Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, had also been in the running for the job, according to sources, but he fell behind Perez in the deliberations.

White House officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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