Former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez is running for governor of Maryland.
The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee is making the announcement official Wednesday.
Perez is highlighting his experience in local, state and federal government, particularly with labor issues and civil rights.
“I want to make sure here in Maryland that zip code never determines destiny, that people have access to good jobs, safe communities, affordable housing, health care — all the building blocks of a vibrant community," Perez said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Perez, 59, served as Maryland's labor secretary from 2007 to 2009 in former Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration. He went on to serve in former President Barack Obama's administration as assistant attorney general for civil rights from 2009 to 2013 and as head of the U.S. Labor Department from 2013 to 2017.
He was chairman of the DNC from 2017 until January.
Perez said he wants to bring a progressive vision to Maryland's crowded Democratic primary.
“You can have all the vision in the world, but if you can’t govern, you’re not going to deliver results," Perez said.
He is underscoring his labor credentials, focusing on income inequality and the importance of experience in developing a workforce development system. He said that's crucial in the aftermath of the pandemic, as more people either want to switch careers or need to because their jobs went away.
He also is emphasizing the link between growing jobs and protecting the environment by supporting offshore wind power.
“We want to create jobs of the future," he said. "We should be a leader in offshore wind.”
A resident of Montgomery County in the suburbs of the nation's capital, Perez enters a growing field of candidates for the governor's office in next year's election. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is term limited.
Other Democrats in the race include Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Attorney General Doug Gansler, former U.S. Education Secretary John King, author and nonprofit executive Wes Moore, businessman Mike Rosenbaum, former nonprofit executive Jon Baron and former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain.
“It’s a crowded field," Perez said. "It’ll be a competitive primary. There’s no doubt about it, but I think the more people see what I’ve done I think the more they will embrace both the vision and the demonstrated track record of accomplishment.”