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The Arc Applauds Appointment of Disability Champion Tom Perez as U.S. Secretary of Labor

Washington, DC – The Arc, the largest civil rights organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), applauds President Obama’s nomination of Tom Perez, the current head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor.

“Tom Perez has been a champion for people with disabilities throughout his career, and we are pleased that he has been nominated for a post that plays a critical role in employment for people whom The Arc represents. We are thrilled that he steps into this important position with a wide breadth of knowledge regarding people with IDD, and we look forward to his confirmation and to working with him in his new role,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

In 2012, The Arc and the five other disability organizations that host the annual Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, DC presented Perez with their prestigious Leadership in Disability Policy Award for his aggressive enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act’s “integration mandate” and the Olmstead decision. Just since 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been involved in several cases that will result in major transformations of states’ delivery of long term services and supports to people with disabilities. In each of these cases, people with disabilities were living in segregated settings or at risk of being institutionalized while they could be living in more integrated community settings. Due to Perez’s tireless work, thousands of people with disabilities will be able to leave institutional settings or avoid ever having to enter an institution, and will be able to participate more fully in their communities.

“Tom Perez has set a high bar at the Department of Justice for the enforcement of the laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities to be a part of their community. We appreciate his tremendous efforts and look forward to working with him at the Department of Labor to further the employment of people with disabilities,” said Berns.