Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has nominated Robert Asaro-Angelo, the son of union organizers and a familiar face to New Jersey labor leaders as Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.
Asaro-Angelo checks three boxes for Murphy: he’s an experienced Democratic strategist, has strong ties to many influential unions, and he served in Barack Obama’s administration.
The East Brunswick native was the Executive Director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee from 2007 to 2010, and then became the Eastern Regional Representative for the U.S. Department of Labor. Tom Perez, now the Democratic National Chairman, was Secretary of Labor during part of Asaro-Angelo’s tenture.
The late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg called Obama’s appointment of Asaro-Angelo “a win for New Jersey.”
While with the Department of Labor, Asaro-Angelo also served on the White House Hurricane Sandy Task Force, White House Task Force on Puerto Rico, and FEMA’s Recovery Support Function Leadership Group.
After starting out as a production assistant at ESPN, Asaro-Angelo joined SEIU 1199 as a political and community organizer in 1999. He spent three years as a political representative for AFSCME and four years as Director of Political Acton for Mason tenders District Council PAC, Laborers International (LIUNA).
“In order to build a 21st century economy in New Jersey, we must have a 21st century workforce,” Murphy said in a statement released today. “Whether it be free community college or making job training more effective and inclusive, we need a Labor Commissioner who will ensure the quality of our workforce development programs match the incredible talent of our state. Education and training are the keys to making our economy grow and ensuring equal opportunity for everyone. Rob Asaro-Angelo shares those values and I am thrilled that he will serve our administration as Labor Commissioner.”