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Alexander Acosta
Alexander Acosta official portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
27th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
April 28, 2017 – July 19, 2019
President Donald Trump
Deputy Patrick Pizzella
Preceded by Tom Perez
Succeeded by Eugene Scalia
Dean of the Florida International University College of Law
In office
July 1, 2009 – April 28, 2017
Preceded by Leonard Strickman
Succeeded by Antony Page
United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida
In office
June 11, 2005 – June 5, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Marcos Jiménez
Succeeded by Wifredo A. Ferrer
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division
In office
August 22, 2003 – June 11, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Bradley Schlozman (acting)
Succeeded by Wan J. Kim
Member of the National Labor Relations Board
In office
December 17, 2002 – August 21, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by William Cowen
Succeeded by Ronald Meisburg
Personal details
Rene Alexander Acosta

(1969-01-16) January 16, 1969 (age 55)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse Jan Williams
Education Harvard University (BA, JD)

Rene Alexander Acosta (born January 16, 1969) is an American attorney and politician, who served as the 27th United States Secretary of Labor from 2017 to 2019. President Donald Trump nominated Acosta to be Labor Secretary on February 16, 2017, and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 27, 2017.

A member of the Republican Party, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Labor Relations Board, and later served as the assistant attorney general for civil rights and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He is a former dean of Florida International University College of Law. He has twice been named on the ‘50 most important Hispanics’ list by Hispanic Business Magazine.


Acosta is the only son of Cuban immigrants. He is a native of Miami, Florida, where he attended the Gulliver Schools. Acosta received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard College in 1990, and received a Juris Doctor degree cum laude from Harvard Law School 1994. He is the first member of his family to graduate from college.

Early career

Following law school, Acosta served as a law clerk to Samuel Alito, then a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, from 1994 to 1995. Acosta then worked at the office of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in employment and labor issues. While in Washington, Acosta taught classes on employment law, disability-based discrimination law, and civil rights law at the George Mason University School of Law.

On December 31, 2013, Acosta became the new chairman of U.S. Century Bank, the largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank in Florida and one of the 15 largest Hispanic community banks in the country. During his tenure as chairman, U.S. Century Bank had its first year-end profit since the start of the Great Recession. Acosta was a member of the Board of Trustees of Gulliver Schools, where he served a past term as board chairman.

George W. Bush administration

Acosta served in four presidentially appointed, U.S. Senate-confirmed positions in the George W. Bush administration. From December 2001 to December 2002, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. From December 2002 to August 2003, he was a member of the National Labor Relations Board for which he participated in or authored more than 125 opinions.

Then, he became Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division on August 22, 2003. He was the first Hispanic to serve as Assistant Attorney General.

U.S. attorney for Southern District of Florida

In 2005, Acosta was appointed as the U.S. attorney for Southern District of Florida.

Acosta emphasized health care fraud prosecutions. Under Acosta's leadership the district prosecuted more than 700 individuals, responsible for a total of more than $2 billion in Medicare fraud.

Law school dean

On July 1, 2009, Acosta became the second dean of Florida International University College of Law. He spearheaded the effort to establish the Master of Studies in Law in banking compliance, Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money-laundering at FIU Law.

Secretary of Labor

Alexander Acosta meets with Apprentices from Mercuria Energy L-17-06-14-A-026 (35305689955)
Acosta meeting with apprentice program participants as the secretary of labor.

President Donald Trump announced in a press conference on February 16, 2017, that he would nominate Acosta to fill the position of Secretary of Labor after the nomination of Andrew Puzder was withdrawn. Acosta was recommended by White House counsel Don McGahn. Acosta is the first, and – as of May 2019 – the only Hispanic person to serve in Trump's cabinet.

Acosta resigned as Labor Secretary, effective July 19, 2019.


Acosta has twice been named one of the nation's 50 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. He serves or served on the Florida Innocence Commission, on the Florida Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism, Florida Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission, and on the Commission for Hispanic Rights and Responsibilities. In 2008, Acosta was named as one of the 100 most influential people in business ethics by the Ethisphere Institute.

See also

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