José Javier Rodríguez confirmed as Assistant Secretary of U.S. Labor Dept.

President Joe Biden first nominated Rodriguez for the post in mid-2021.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Florida state lawmaker José Javier Rodríguez as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor, capping a yearslong effort to place him in the job.

The chamber voted 50-48 Thursday, with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia casting the sole “no” vote from the Democratic side.

Rodríguez’s nomination had been in stasis since late November, when Manchin and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey joined Republicans in a 51-44 vote to block him from advancing.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also voted “no.” He switched from a prior “yes” vote so he could bring up Rodríguez for a future vote.

At the time, a spokesperson for Manchin said he had “concerns about (Rodríguez’s) political activism and lack of experience.”

Rodríguez, a workers’ rights lawyer, served from 2016 to 2020 in the Florida Senate, where he represented coastal Miami-Dade County cities including Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Key Biscayne and downtown Miami.

Before that, he served two two-year terms in the Florida House.

He was unseated in 2020 by Latinas for Trump founder Ileana Garcia, who won by fewer than 35 votes. It was later revealed that former Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles had run a so-called “ghost candidate” scheme in the race, propping up and paying a similarly named candidate, Alex Rodriguez, to siphon votes from the incumbent.

The fake candidate lived two counties away in Boca Raton and didn’t campaign. He still received nearly 6,400 votes.

Biden nominated Rodríguez on July 2, 2021, to serve as Assistant Director of Employment and Training in the Department of Labor, and hearings on the nomination commenced later that year but deadlocked soon after. The nomination expired at the end of the year.

Biden resubmitted the nomination at the beginning of 2022, and the process began anew but again hit a wall — now surmounted — on Nov. 28.

Shortly after the confirmation, Rodríguez wrote on X, “Keep the faith.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

One comment

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    March 21, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Yea another Dook 4 Brains Leftist intent on ruining our Sage Nation.
    Earl Pitts American

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