Human trafficking has been a high priority for state attorneys general and we appreciated Perezís initiative as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division when he vigorously prosecuted human-trafficking cases, working with law enforcement partners at the local, state and federal levels, as well as with nongovernmental organizations. His leadership and collaborative efforts paid off, as the number of human-trafficking prosecutions went up by 40 percent during the past four years, including a record number of cases last year.
As an executive in the DOJ, Perez always took a personal interest in investigating and understanding all of the facts and arguments on each side of an issue, including making himself available after hours and on weekends to question and seek input and advice. On one particularly important matter related to civil rights in the context of state immigration overhauls, he traveled to Utah to meet with Republican state policymakers to seek their input and respond to their questions. It was only after such thorough investigation and analysis that he would take a position based on the law and the facts.
As a former statewide elected official who ran a state agency for 12 years, Iím familiar with the challenges and opportunities that come with the responsibility of such leadership. Looking at Perezís record, I am thoroughly impressed, not just by his impressive accomplishments but also by the sincerity and honesty of his approach. While I may not agree with every decision heís made, I know that he always did what he believed would best serve the public. From having worked with Perez, Iím confident he will bring that same approach to the Department of Labor. The Senate would be right to confirm Perez without undue delay.
Mark Shurtleff served as attorney general of Utah from 2001 to 2013 and is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Troutman Sanders LLP.