Cesar A. Perales, LAW ’65, has been nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become the secretary of state of New York. Perales also will serve as a senior adviser for policy to the governor.
“Cesar Perales has devoted his life to public service,” Gov. Cuomo said. “He is one of our most distinguished New Yorkers and will be an exceptional secretary of state. I look forward to working with Cesar in making New York stronger and restoring dignity and honor to our state government.”
Perales has a 50-year record as a dedicated public servant. As co-founder of the Latino Justice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (Latino Justice PRLDEF), Perales served as its first executive director and returned later in his career to serve as its president and general counsel.
Perales has held numerous positions in the public and private sectors throughout his distinguished career, including:
• founder of the first Brooklyn Legal Services office;
• general counsel for the Model Cities Administration under Mayor John V. Lindsay;
• assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, nominated by President Jimmy Carter;
• commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Service, appointed by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo;
• deputy mayor of New York City under Mayor David N. Dinkins;
• senior vice president for community health at New York-Presbyterian Hospital; and
• senior fellow at the Baruch College School of Public Affairs
As secretary of state of New York, Perales will be leading the oldest agency in the state government. The Department of State provides various services to citizens, community organizations, businesses and local governments. With more than 17 divisions, the department is one of the state’s most diverse agencies. The broad nature of the department’s work has an impact on all New Yorkers.
Perales earned his bachelor of arts from City College of New York in 1962 and then enrolled at Fordham Law. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his dedication to community development and social justice. He received an honorary doctorate from Lehman College; the Thurgood Marshall Award from Seton Hall University Law School; and the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic National Bar Association; among other distinctions.
– Carrie Johnson