U.S. President Joe Biden nominated Chinese American Julie Su as the new Labor secretary on Wednesday.
Su — who would be the first Asian American Cabinet secretary of President Biden’s administration — is expected to succeed Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh, who has shared plans to leave his position this March. This would be the second time Su has been nominated for secretary of Labor in the Biden administration.
“Julie is the American dream,” Biden said during the nomination. “[Su’s] committed to making sure that dream is in reach for every American. That’s what she’s all about. She’s gonna make sure it happens as the fourth Asian American woman in my Cabinet.”
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Biden also clarified the urgency for Su’s placement, stating “I asked the United States Senate to move this nomination quickly so we can continue the progress of building this economy that works for everyone.”
Calling Su a “real leader” for her work in unions, work safety and human trafficking, Biden joked he would be “run outta town” if Su wasn’t his nominee pick. A top choice of many, Su has been endorsed by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and was pushed by the National Education Association, the US’s largest labor union.
Recounting her mother’s experience as a union worker in the US, Su proudly stated, “I believe in the transformative power of America, and the transformative power of a good job.”
With her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and J.D. from Harvard Law School, Su began her legal career at the Asian-Pacific American Legal Center, rising to become the litigation director for the nonprofit Advancing Justice L.A. Su would go on to become the lead attorney in the El Monte Thai garment slavery case, which led to the creation of visas for human trafficking survivors.
Su entered into the Department of Labor while under California governor Jerry Brown and Gaven Newsom, where she served as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.
During this time, Su also received the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant” in recognition of her efforts on behalf of worker’s civil rights.