In 2011, when Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Cesar A. Perales to serve as New York Secretary of State and Senior Adviser for Policy, he described him as “one of our most distinguished New Yorkers.”
Secretary Perales has served at the highest levels of government, including as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter. After his return home, he was named Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services by Governor Mario M. Cuomo and later became Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David N. Dinkins.
The Secretary has an equally distinguished career as a civil rights lawyer. As leader of Latino Justice PRLDEF, he created opportunities for thousands of people through his ground-breaking cases combating racial discrimination, protecting voting rights and advancing worker’s rights.
At the Department of State, Secretary Perales plays a key role in the Governor’s economic development agenda and is responsible for making the State’s municipalities govern more efficiently. He is the first Secretary charged with the State’s Consumer Protection role and has also aggressively taken the lead in the Administration’s anti-poverty initiatives.
At the behest of Governor Cuomo, Secretary Perales created the Empire State Fellows Program, a unique vehicle to bring talented people into government and prepare them to serve as future policy makers. Similarly, Secretary Perales established the New York State Office for New Americans, which hosts the first statewide network of centers anywhere in the country that offer free English-language instruction, prepares immigrants to become naturalized citizens, and helps these newcomers start their own businesses.