Acosta Love It. Trump Makes Another Great Choice for DOL

Posted by Olivia Grady on Thursday, February 16th, 2017 at 3:14 pm - Permalink

By Olivia Grady

On January 16, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated R. Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor after Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination the day before.

Acosta was born to Cuban parents and is a native of Miami, Florida. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. 

After law school, he clerked for Justice Samuel Alito who was at the time a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Acosta then became a labor and employment attorney for Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C. He also taught employment law, disability-based discrimination law and civil rights law at George Mason Law School.

In 1998, he became a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and George W. Bush appointed him as a member of the National Labor Relations Board in 2002. On August 22, 2003, he became Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice after serving as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. He then served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida where he prosecuted Jack Abramoff for fraud and other cases.

On July 1, 2009, he became the dean of Florida International University (FIU) Law School. He helped establish the J.M. degree in banking compliance, BSA and anti-money laundering at FIU Law School.

On December 31, 2013, Acosta became the chairman of U.S. Century Bank, the largest Hispanic community bank in Florida that is domestically owned.

He is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gulliver Schools, a private school he graduated from in Miami, and he has served on the Florida Innocence Commission, the Florida Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism and the Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities.

He has received a number of recognitions and awards as well. The Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the nation’s most influential Hispanics, and he was named one of the 100 most influential individuals in business ethics. In 2013, the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce also gave him the Chairman’s Higher Education Award.

Acosta has spoken on a range of issues. On March 29, 2011, he testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, on the importance of protecting the civil rights of American Muslims. He also told a judge that the Justice Department wasn’t against Republicans challenging the voting eligibility of 23,000 people, mostly African Americans.

Because of his credentials, many people support Acosta’s nomination.

Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, released a statement praising Acosta: "His record reflects a skill set and expertise both in the private and public sector which will serve the administration and the nation greatly.”

Even the AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, was positive on Trump’s choice:

"Working people changed the game on this nomination. Unlike Andy Puzder, Alexander Acosta’s nomination deserves serious consideration. In one day, we’ve gone from a fast-food CEO who routinely violates labor law to a public servant with experience enforcing it."

The Center for Worker Freedom and Americans for Tax Reform also support R. Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor.