Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Senate unanimously confirmed Cesar A. Perales as Secretary of the New York State Department of State.
"I congratulate Secretary Perales and officially welcome him to my administration," Governor Cuomo said. "Cesar is one of New York's most dedicated public servants. He has experience on both the local and national levels that make him particularly suited for this position. He will be a key player in restoring trust and efficiency to New York state government. I thank Majority Leader Skelos and Senators DeFrancisco and Krueger for their comprehensive review."
Secretary Perales said, "I am honored to be confirmed as the Secretary of State of New York and to join Governor Cuomo in making our state government truly work for the people of this state. The Department of State provides a variety of important services to the public, and I look forward to working closely with community and business leaders, as well as citizens across this state in my new role. I thank Majority Leader Skelos and Senators DeFrancisco and Krueger for their review and support during my confirmation, and I thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity to serve the people of the State of New York."
Cesar A. Perales has spent more than four decades as a dedicated public servant. As co-founder of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (now LatinoJustice PRLDEF), Mr. Perales served as its first Executive Director and returned later in his career to serve as its President and General Counsel.
Mr. Perales has held numerous positions in both public and private sectors throughout his distinguished career, including:
- Founding the first Brooklyn Legal Services Office;
- General Counsel for the Model Cities Administration, under Mayor John V. Lindsay;
- Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, nominated by President Jimmy Carter;
- Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Service, appointed by former Governor Mario M. Cuomo;
- Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David N. Dinkins;
- Senior Vice President for Community Health at The New York Presbyterian Hospital;
- Senior Fellow at Baruch College School of Public Affairs
Mr. Perales grew up in New York City. He earned his B.A. from City College of New York in 1962 and a J.D. from Fordham Law School in 1965. Throughout his career, Mr. Perales has been recognized for his dedication to community development and social justice. Among others distinctions, Mr. Perales was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Lehman College, the Thurgood Marshall Award from Seton Hall University Law School and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "We are pleased to confirm Cesar Perales as Secretary of State, and commend Governor Cuomo on an excellent choice. As a fellow graduate of Fordham Law School, Cesar has dedicated his professional life to public service. I am confident that his long, distinguished career has prepared him well for this new endeavor. As Secretary of State, Cesar Perales will be in a position that has been held by some of New York State's most respected public servants, and I look forward to the good work he'll do in this role."
John DeFrancisco, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance said, "Fifty years ago, Cesar Perales committed his life's work to serving the public, and in his new role as Secretary of State he will continue to advocate on behalf of all New Yorkers. I commend Governor Cuomo on selecting such a distinguished nominee, who truly understands the issues facing the great state of New York, and will work hard to make the positive changes New York needs. I look forward to working with Secretary of State Perales in his new position."
Liz Krueger, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance said, "I applaud the Governor's appointment of Cesar Perales for the Secretary of State of New York. Cesar Perales' experience as Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter and Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David Dinkins make him well suited to lead the oldest agency in New York State government. I commend Governor Cuomo on another exceptional nomination and I am confident that he will work hard to bring the positive change to the great state of New York."
Nicholas Gigante, President of the NYS Association of Realtors said, "We congratulate Secretary Perales on his confirmation. New Yorkers should feel confident knowing that one of the nation's most recognized advocates and civil rights leaders is among the highest echelons of state government. Mr. Perales' vast experience in public service will serve him well in his new position, and we know he will continue to make government work for the people."
Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel of LatinoJustice said, "Cesar's career is a testament to his commitment to social justice and public well-being. For years, he has fought to defend the rights and improve the lives of Latinos across the country. I am certain that he will continue to work just as tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable members of society in his new capacity as Secretary of State of New York."
Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President of the Hispanic Federation said, "For half a century, Secretary Perales' leadership in the fight for equality, improved education, and criminal justice has had a tremendous effect on both New York and the entire country. His years of public service make him especially suited for Secretary of State. I congratulate Secretary Perales and Governor Cuomo, and look forward to working with them in the years ahead to strengthen diverse communities across our great state.