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Trump Taps Exec Puzder for Labor       12/09 06:19

   President-elect Donald Trump plans to add another wealthy business person 
and elite donor to his Cabinet, saying he would nominate fast-food executive 
Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Donald Trump plans to add another wealthy 
business person and elite donor to his Cabinet, saying he would nominate 
fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

   Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl's Jr., 
Hardee's and other chains. In 2010, he published a book called "Job Creation: 
How it Really Works and Why Government Doesn't Understand It."

   "Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by 
enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the 
benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing 
burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing 
wages," President-elect Trump said in a statement.

   Puzder, in the same statement, said he was honored "to help President-elect 
Trump restore America's global economic leadership."

   The Californian was one of Trump's earliest campaign financiers, serving as 
a co-chairman of his California finance team and organizing fundraisers well 
before most major donors got on board with the eventual Republican nominee. 
Together with his wife, Puzder contributed $150,000 in late May to Trump's 
campaign and Republican Party partners, fundraising records show.

   As one of Trump's most outspoken defenders, Puzder frequently appeared on 
cable news and Twitter to talk up the benefits of having a business leader in 
the White House.

   A week after Trump's election, Puzder said he agreed with Trump's aim to 
ease business regulations.

   "We've reached the point where overregulation is doing meaningful damage to 
our businesses," he said last month at the Restaurant Finance & Development 
Conference in Las Vegas, citing high labor costs, increased health care costs 
and "political and social" policies as hindrances.

   Union leaders decried Puzder as a secretary who would look out for 
millionaires --- but not workers.

   AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement that Puzder's "business 
record is defined by fighting against working people."

   Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said there's reason to be 
skeptical about Puzder.

   "Turning the Labor Department over to someone who opposes an increase in the 
minimum wage, opposes the overtime rule that would raise middle class wages, 
and whose businesses have repeatedly violated labor laws might be the surest 
sign yet that the next cabinet will be looking out for the billionaires and 
special interests, instead of America's working class," Schumer said in a 
statement.

   Trump's selection won praise from the National Retail Federation, however.

   "Andrew Puzder is someone with the real-world experience to understand 
workforce issues and how jobs are created," said David French, NRF's senior 
vice president for government relations.

   Trump's recent appointments have reflected his desire to turn to business 
leaders --- who also were campaign donors. Trump tapped former WWE chief 
executive and top campaign contributor Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business 
Administration. He also selected his campaign's national finance chairman 
Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund investor, as 
Treasury secretary.

   Puzder visited with Trump several times since the election, including a 
meeting Wednesday afternoon at Trump Tower.

   He has long been a reliable GOP donor. He was a major financier for 2012 GOP 
nominee Mitt Romney and has remained close to him. At Romney's annual donor 
summit in June, Puzder was one of just a few attendees who aggressively 
promoted Trump to the dozens who were more squeamish about their party's new 
star.

   He told The Associated Press at the Republican National Convention in late 
July that he enjoyed the challenge of raising money for Trump, saying he often 
sought common ground with reluctant GOP donors by talking up Trump's children.

   "If he's such an evil villain," Puzder said he would tell would-be donors, 
"how do you explain the kids?"


(KA)

 
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