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By Suzanne Gamboa

Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who has been occasionally mentioned as vice presidential material, has endorsed Hillary Clinton in a statement issued by the campaign.

Perez was to join Clinton in Sioux City and Fort Dodge, Iowa Friday to make his endorsement official there.

In the statement issued Thursday, Perez said: "Progressives believe in making progress, which is why I'm proud to endorse Hillary Clinton who I know will continue to fight to ensure our children and grandchildren can achieve their highest and best dreams."

“Secretary Clinton is tough, smart and understands better than any candidate the challenges that parents are talking about around dinner tables and keeping families up at night,” Perez said in the statement.

Democratic strategist Larry Gonzalez of the Raben Group said Perez’s endorsement of Clinton makes sense because both are on the same page about the importance of working families.

“They’ve had a close history throughout the years, are in agreement about pay equity ... and then … generally on issues impacting working families,” he said.

Perez has served in Obama’s Cabinet since 2013 after a Senate confirmation that was held up for months by Republicans.

Although he is not as regularly mentioned as a potential runningmate to Clinton as is his fellow Cabinet member Housing Secretary Julián Castro, Perez is often mentioned in Latino political circles as someone with more political advancement ahead of him.

“I certainly would not take him off any short list,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

Perez came to the Labor Department after presiding over the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division as an assistant attorney general. He also worked in the Clinton administration in the civil rights division of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S-born son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez has championed many of the issues Clinton is promoting in her campaign: voter protections, efforts to end racial profiling, gender equity in pay and worker rights and protections.

“I think it is incredibly valuable for her,” said Cardona, of Dewey Square Group, who said it was notable that Perez was also part of the cabinet of former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who is also running as a Democratic presidential candidate along with Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Cardona said Perez is an "envoy" of the labor, immigrant, Latino and civil rights community. “He brings so many hats to the table in so many areas that are critical in terms of continuing to mobilize and energize her progressive base.”

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