U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez came to Carson City Monday to give a pep talk to Hillary Clinton supporters, describing her as far and away the best-prepared candidate to assume the presidency.
“In this job, folks, there’s no apprentice period,” Perez told a small group of backers at Clinton’s Carson City campaign headquarters. “I’ve never seen a non-vice president running for president who has a greater depth of understanding about the job.”
After eight years as first lady and her years with the Obama administration, Perez said Clinton has the knowledge, experience and “that moral compass to move us forward.”
“She’s not running for Bill Clinton’s third term; she’s not running for Barack Obama’s third term.” But Perez said Clinton may have “picked up a few tips,” during those presidential administrations.
Perez emphasized his visit — his second to Nevada on Clinton’s behalf — is on his own time, not as Obama’s Labor Secretary. The president has not yet endorsed anyone in the Democratic race to succeed him.
Unlike many Ivy League legal graduates, Perez said Clinton “did a lot of door-knocking” when she got out of college and did legal aid work.
“The first thing she did as first lady was take on the health care establishment,” Perez said.
When that battle proved impossible to win, he said she went back to work to get the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that now provides health benefits for large numbers of low-income children.
Perez said it’s not enough to have the passion for progressive causes, “they have to be able to win the fight and get things done.”
Clinton, he said, he supports because she gets things done.
Asked by union members about the need for skilled labor to feed workers to Nevada’s new businesses including such giants as Tesla, he said she is a strong supporter of apprenticeship programs.
“Apprenticeship is the other college without the debt,” Perez said.
As Labor Secretary, he said there are 5.5 million job openings right now but that businessmen tell him too many applicants walk in the door without the skills for the position.
Finally, he said Clinton has a proven record of working with not only those who agree with her progressive goals but those who aren’t in agreement.
“We’ve got to figure out what the founding fathers did — principled compromise,” he said. “It’s not a dirty word.”