WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Senate unanimously confirmed disabled veteran Ray Jefferson to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training. After being injured during his Army service, Mr. Jefferson served the State of Hawaii as Deputy Director for the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).
“Ray is an example for all Americans, especially those living with disabilities due to their military service,” said Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI). “When I look at what he has achieved in his life, and how many of those achievements occurred after he lost his hand protecting his fellow troops, I believe that he will do great things for his fellow veterans in his new position. I look forward to working with him to meet the employment and transition needs of veterans and returning servicemembers.” Two weeks ago, the Committee met to review the nomination. Soon thereafter, the Committee unanimously approved Jefferson. The next day he was approved by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sending his nomination to the full Senate.
Mr. Jefferson is a West Point graduate and veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as an officer with Infantry and Special Forces units. In 1995, while attempting to protect his fellow servicemembers from a live grenade, he lost all five fingers on his left hand. Following his injury, he spent six months recovering at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. After graduating from Harvard’s Business School and School of Government and serving as a White House and Fulbright Fellow, he returned to the islands to serve as the number two leader at DBEDT.
August 7, 2009