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Trump nominates Florida law school dean Alex Acosta as labor secretary

Acosta selected after Trump’s first nominee for labor post, Andrew Puzder, pulled out

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

florida mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Alex Acosta, the dean of Florida International University’s law school and a former federal prosecutor in Miami, has been named by President Donald Trump to be the nation’s next labor secretary.

FIU Dean Alex Acosta

FIU Law Dean Alex Acosta

The selection of Acosta to head the U.S. Department of Labor came a day after Trump’s first pick for the post, fast food magnate Andrew Puzder, withdrew from consideration after it became clear that he lacked enough votes for Senate confirmation.

Trump made the announcement February 16 during a media appearance at the White House, which Acosta did not attend.

“I think he’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor,” Trump said, after briefly ticking off items from Acosta’s resume, including the fact that he had already been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to three executive department posts.

If confirmed, Acosta will be the first, and so far only, Latino in the Trump cabinet.

Acosta, 48, a Cuban-American, has been dean at FIU’s law school since 2009. From 2005 to 2009, he served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, which comprises nine counties in the southeastern part of the state.

From 2003 to 2005, Acosta headed up the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, the first Latino to serve in that position. From 2002 to 2003, he was a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

Acosta was also a law clerk to now-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito from 1994 to 1995, when Alito was serving on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

His two positions in the Justice Department and his stint at the NLRB all required Senate confirmation. One of the senators who will decide on Acosta’s nomination for the labor post, Florida’s Marco Rubio said he was “a phenomenal choice” and predicted he would be approved.

“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,” Rubio said in a statement.

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