(WASHINGTON) The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will honor Secretary of Labor Tom Perez with the 2016 Louis E. Martin Great American Award at a reception on Wednesday, November 16.
The award is named after Louis E. Martin (1912-1997), a principal founder of the Joint Center and the first chair of its Board. A Chicago Defender journalist and black newspaper publisher and an advisor to three presidents, Martin was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Among friends and colleagues, Louis E. Martin was known for expressing his warmest respects with his favorite compliment: “You are a great American.”
Past awardees include: Eddie Williams (2015), Cory Booker (2014), Susan Rice (2013), Kasim Reed (2012), John Lewis (2012), Jesse L. Jackson Sr. (2011), Dorothy Height (2010), James Clyburn (2009), Charles Rangel (2008), William Jefferson Clinton (2007), Muhamad Ali (2006), Vernon Jordan (2005), and Jimmy Carter (2004).
Thomas E. Perez is the nation’s 26th secretary of labor. A civil rights lawyer by training, Secretary Perez has dedicated his entire career to making good on the promise of opportunity for all.
Under Secretary Perez's leadership, priorities for the department include ensuring a fair day's pay for a fair day's work through continued efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand overtime protections, and by being smarter and more strategic in the department's enforcement of federal law. Secretary Perez strives every day to ensure that Americans return home from their jobs safe and healthy. Perez has made job training and workforce development a focal point of his tenure. With historic investments in community colleges and apprenticeships and the department's implementation of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, he is committed to connecting ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. His efforts to protect Americans' hard-earned retirement savings include a rule to require financial advisers to put their customers' best interest first. Additionally, Perez has kept up the drumbeat on state and local progress to expand access to paid leave. He also helps ensure that people with disabilities and veterans have access to employment opportunities and other supports to help them succeed.
Members of the media are welcome to cover the reception, scheduled to take place at 5:45 p.m. today at the GW Law Faculty Conference Center, located at 716 20th Street NW, on the 5th Floor. Besides Secretary Perez, Joint Center President Spencer Overton will also be available for comment.