Politician and Attorney who is the Chair of the Democratic National Committee
The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Tom Perez grew up in Buffalo where he learned the values of a union town: hard work, integrity, service, and perseverance. Having lost his father when he was 12, Tom understood early in life never to take a day for granted, and that urgency has driven him…
The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Tom Perez grew up in Buffalo where he learned the values of a union town: hard work, integrity, service, and perseverance. Having lost his father when he was 12, Tom understood early in life never to take a day for granted, and that urgency has driven him to spend his life in public service.
After high school, Tom put himself through college earning tuition money on the back of a garbage truck, went to law school, and started his career as a civil rights attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. There, he fought to protect and expand opportunity for all Americans. While prosecuting some of the Department’s most high-profile civil rights cases, Tom saw firsthand the effects of hate and bigotry, and he fought to ensure that our justice system held accountable those who would violate the civil and constitutional rights of their fellow Americans.
Later on, Tom was special counsel to Senator Ted Kennedy, advising him on civil rights, criminal justice, and constitutional issues. He worked with Senator Kennedy to fight discriminatory laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. And as African-American churches were being burned to the ground in the late ‘90s, Tom and Senator Kennedy worked to pass the Church Arson Prevention Act, making it a federal crime to commit arson or vandalism against a place of worship.
Tom also served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno and led the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the end of the Clinton administration.
Tom returned to the Department of Justice in 2009 after President Obama was elected, serving as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Leading the Civil Rights division after the Bush administration had decimated it, Tom oversaw the effort to restore and expand the division’s achievements.
With his leadership, they successfully implemented the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act; protected equal housing opportunity by pursuing and resolving the largest fair-lending cases in history; helped ensure schoolchildren are free from discrimination, bullying and harassment; dramatically expanded access to employment, housing and educational opportunities by fighting for people with disabilities; defended Americans’ right to vote free from discrimination; took record-setting efforts to ensure that communities have effective and accountable policing; and safeguarded the employment, housing, fair lending and voting rights of service members. Tom expanded the division’s partnerships, working across federal agencies to address shared challenges in human trafficking, employment discrimination and fair lending, among others.
Tom’s also been a local leader and organizer, running and winning a seat on the Montgomery County Council. He was the first Latino elected to the council, serving from 2002 until 2006, and was Council president. He then served as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. In 2002, Tom started as board president at CASA de Maryland, an organization that provides services to immigrants. Under his leadership, CASA experienced monumental growth – from the basement of a church to a $7M headquarters that opened without a lease – and grew from a service provider to one of the largest immigrant advocacy organizations in the country.
Tom received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1983. In 1987, he received a master’s of public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Ann Marie Staudenmaier, who is an attorney with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and their three children.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening With Tom Perez
1 HOUR OR LESS