WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01: U.S. President Joe Biden announces Julie Su as his nominee to be the next Secretary of Labor during an event in the East Room of the White House March 1, 2023 in Washington, DC. Su will replace the current Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh.
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced Julie Su, his nominee for Labor secretary, touting the overwhelming support she enjoys among lawmakers and other Democratic supporters.

Biden joked that if he didn’t pick Su, who would be the first Asian American Cabinet secretary of his administration if confirmed, he’d be “run outta town.” Long considered the front-runner for the job, Su had been endorsed by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. The National Education Association, the country’s largest labor union, also urged the president to nominate Su to the role.

During the remarks at the White House, Biden highlighted Su’s understanding of workers’ rights and her background as a civil rights lawyer.

“It’s personal for Julie,” he said, recounting her upbringing in Wisconsin as the child of immigrants.

Su, he said, “is the American dream.”

Prior to joining the Biden administration, Su was the secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the state’s labor commissioner. Su was the litigation director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. She’s also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, gaining national recognition for her expertise in workers’ rights and civil rights.

In brief remarks, Su recounted her mother’s journey, from coming to the United States on a cargo ship to receiving a call from Biden to tell her that her daughter would be a Cabinet secretary.

“I believe in the transformative power of America, and the transformative power of a good job,” she said, recounting her mother’s own union work.

Biden has made workers, worker well-being, and worker power central to his economic vision, Su said, adding that she has spent her career fighting for workers who deserve to be seen.

“We see you, we stand with you, and we will fight for you,” she said.

“I am proud to be chosen to, in the words of the President, finish the job,” Su added.

The president on Wednesday offered praise to outgoing Labor secretary Marty Walsh – pronouncing his first name, as Biden often does, with an exaggerated Boston accent – calling him a partner as he praised Walsh’s commitment to US workers. Walsh is departing the administration this month for a job atop the National Hockey League Players Association.

“Marty, thank you for everything you’ve done… thank you for standing up for labor, thank you for standing up for ordinary people, and thank you for having my back, pal,” Biden said.