LA mayor’s aide becomes president of MALDEF

The mayor of Los Angeles’ chief legal counsel is becoming president of a leading civil rights organization. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall has more on Thomas Saenz’s move to MALDEF.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a 40-year-old, L.A.-based nonprofit that regards itself as “the law firm for the Latino community.” Thomas Saenz, MALDEF’s lead legal counsel for a dozen years, returns there after four years with L.A.Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office. While there, he negotiated with city labor unions and helped to promote the mayor’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, an effort to improve conditions at 10 low-performing public schools.

Villaraigosa praised Saenz as “a trusted advisor who understands the importance of public service and working on behalf of those in need.” In a statement, Saenz said he’s eager to address the challenges that face what’s now the largest minority group in this country, a group whose progress is essential to the nation’s success. He begins his new job next month.

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