According to the Los Angeles Daily News, openly gay California Assembly Speaker John Perez is on the short list to replace Hilda Solis, who resigned as Secretary of Labor last month. If chosen and approved, Perez would become the first-ever gay member of a presidential cabinet. Typical for these situations, Perez is being cagey about his prospects.
“Look, I’m always flattered if somebody thinks my work is worthy of other consideration, but I’m focused on being speaker for these next two years,” he told The Bee. “And continuing to build back our economy, and continuing to build on the fiscal discipline that we’ve created here in California. And getting people back to work.” There’d be a decidedly ironic element to such an appointment. Perez’s cousin, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who’ll also be termed out later this year, also has been casting around for another office to keep his up-and-down political career going.
Villaraigosa, who is personally close to Obama, had reportedly been seeking a Cabinet position himself, such as secretary of transportation. But that’s not happening, for whatever reason – perhaps because he got himself photographed palling with Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen at the latter’s opening of a new bar in Cabo San Lucas. It was not Villaraigosa’s first foray into tabloid notoriety. The mayor is now publicly boosting Perez for the Cabinet. “I heard my cousin by the way is on the list and I’m glad he is. I’ve said to a number of people he would make a great secretary of labor,” Villaraigosa said in an online chat, adding, “I wish him luck.”
Perez will be term-limited out of the Assembly in 2014.