Cesar A. Perales was appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on March 31, 2011 and unanimously confirmed by the New York State Senate on June 7, 2011 as Secretary of the New York Department of State. The Department is the oldest agency in New York State government with the exception of the Offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
At the helm of the New York Department of State, Secretary Perales oversees one of the key economic development agencies in the State. The Department’s Local Government Services division acts as a principal resource for local governments by providing them with training and technical assistance to solve problems while also helping identify cost saving opportunities for taxpayers. Through the Department’s Communities and Waterfront division, the Secretary spearheads efforts to revitalize communities, spur economic development, and protect and improve the environment.
The Secretary also facilitates the formation of thousands of businesses, as well as license 29 professional occupations throughout the State. He is also the first New York Secretary of State to guide the new Division of Consumer Protection, the State's top consumer watchdog and think tank. Additionally, Perales leads the State’s anti-poverty efforts, working with community action agencies to provide programs and services targeting the root causes of poverty.
Secretary Perales has spent more than four decades as a dedicated public servant, including serving as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services under Governor Mario M. Cuomo, and as Deputy Mayor of New York City under Mayor David Dinkins. Mr. Perales is a co-founder of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and established the first Brooklyn Legal Services Office.
Secretary Perales grew up in New York City and is a resident of Brooklyn. He earned his B.A. from City College of New York and a J.D. from Fordham Law School. He has been widely recognized throughout his distinguished career for his dedication to social justice and civil rights. Among other distinctions, he is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Lehman College, the Thurgood Marshall Award from Seton Hall University Law School, the Dean's Medal from the Fordham University School of Law, and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association.