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Ex-DNC chair Tom Perez launches bid for Maryland governor

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Washington — Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who also led the Democratic National Committee, announced Wednesday he is running for governor of Maryland.

In a five-minute video launching his gubernatorial campaign, Perez charted his history as the son of immigrants from the Dominican Republican who lost his father at the age of 12 to going on to raise a family in Montgomery County, Maryland, and then serving as a federal prosecutor and working in the Obama administration.

"Time is the most precious asset we have, and I want to make sure I use every day of my life to give back," he said.

He pitched himself to voters as the candidate who has dedicated his life to "making government work and helping people," and vowed to do the same if elected to lead the state.

In the course of his career, Perez has held positions in Maryland at the local and state level, as the first Latino to serve on the Montgomery County Council and as the state's secretary of labor. At the federal level, Perez led the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under former President Barack Obama and went on to serve as his labor secretary in Mr. Obama's second term. Perez was elected as chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2017 and held that role until January.

Perez's video launching his campaign featured footage of Mr. Obama calling him "one of the best secretaries of labor in our history" and praising him as "wicked smart" and "tireless."

"I want to build a Maryland where everyone has access to quality education and quality, affordable health care, where a zip code never determines destiny. A Maryland where everyone has access to a good job, where unions thrive and small businesses succeed. A Maryland where we take on climate change and put people to work doing it. A Maryland where people feel safe in their communities and justice is indeed equal for all," Perez said in the video.

In jumping into the 2022 race for Maryland's governor, Perez joins a crowded field of at least eight Democrats that includes one other member of Mr. Obama's Cabinet, John King, a former education secretary. Also running are former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, author Wes Moore, businessman Mike Rosenbaum, former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain and former nonprofit executive Jon Baron.

Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, is term-limited.

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