Andrew Puzder is President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of Labor.
Puzder is known for being the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. He is married to Deanna Descher and resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his six children. Trump made the nomination of the 66-year-old businessman official on December 8th.
“Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor,” Trump said in a statement.
Here’s everything you need to know about Andrew Puzder, the likely next secretary of Labor.
1. He Makes Between $4 Million & $10 Million Per Year
According to a 2012 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Andrew Puzder’s base salary that year was $1,070,000.
In addition, he received a retention bonus of $1,255,000. His total compensation for 2012 was $4,485,055. The previous year, though, he took home $10,117,351, and in 2010, his total compensation was $7,288,188.
Puzder’s net worth is not publicly known, but this makes him yet another extremely wealthy individual who is joining the Trump cabinet. Of the appointments Trump has made thus far, almost all are millionaires or billionaires.
2. He Does Not Support Raising the Minimum Wage Substantially
Millions of American workers across the country, including many fast food workers, have called for an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 an hour. Andrew Puzder does not support this, arguing that a raise of this kind would hurt small businesses. In fact, Puzder was opposed to President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, according to The Wall Street Journal.
During a Fox Business interview earlier this year, Puzder said that states should decide on this issue but that a lot of the state increases going on around the country right now are too high.
“I’ve been opposed to minimum wage increases that kill jobs and a lot of these state increases are to that level where they would kill jobs,” he said. “I think that’s bad for American workers.”
However, he went on to say that there’s not much that the federal government can do about this other than perhaps using the bully pulpit to encourage states not to raise their minimum wage. Puzder added that he thinks states raising their minimum wage is a better solution than raising the federal minimum wage because it does not make sense for the number to be the same everywhere.
President-Elect Donald Trump has been all over the place on this issue, sometimes saying the minimum wage is too high, sometimes saying it should be kept the same, and sometimes saying it should be raised to $10 an hour.
According to The Washington Post, Trump said in July, “The minimum wage has to go up. People are — at least $10, but it has to go up. But I think that states — federal — I think that states should really call the shot. As an example, I live in New York. It’s very expensive in New York. You can’t buy a hot dog for the money you’re talking about. You go to other states and it’s not expensive at all. Now what it does is puts New York at a disadvantage if the minimum wage is up, companies move out and things, bad things happen. At the same time, people have to be taken care of. But what I’m really going to do on the minimum wage — but it has to go up… So I would like to raise it to at least $10.”
3. He Donated Over $300,000 to Donald Trump’s Campaign
Although Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of being controlled by her donors during the presidential election, Trump’s cabinet pick is someone who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign efforts.
According to The Washington Post, Puzder and his wife, Deanna, contributed $332,000 to Donald Trump’s campaign efforts. This includes donations to Trump’s campaign itself and to the Republican National Committee. He also donated to Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush. Later, Puzder served as Trump’s economic adviser.
In addition to Puzder, Trump’s pick for administrator of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, donated $7 million to pro-Trump political action committees, according to CNN.
The president-elect has appointed several other prominent campaign donors like Steven Mnuchin and Betsy DeVos to his cabinet, although Mnuchin has donated to both Democrats and Republicans, and DeVos donates to Republicans but did not support Trump during the campaign.
4. He Dropped Out of College After the Kent State Shooting
Andrew Puzder was attending Kent State University in 1970 when four unarmed college students were shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard, sparking national protests.
Puzder was among those protesting, and in fact, he dropped out of school after the shooting took place.
“I spent the next three years attending concerts and marching on Washington,” Puzder told the Franchise Times.
Puzder eventually went back to school, graduating from Cleveland State University with a B.A. in History. He then went to the Washington University School of Law; while there, he served as the editor of Washington University Law Quarterly.
5. He Has a Background as an Attorney & He Defended Pro-Life Laws
Though Puzder is now the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, he does not have a background in business. Rather, he started out as a lawyer.
After graduation, Puzder practiced law in St. Louis, Missouri, gaining a reputation for taking on many pro-life cases. For example, he authored a Missouri law that prohibited the use of Missouri state money for abortions. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the law in the landmark 1989 case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. This decision opened the door to other state laws restricting abortion.
Later, the governor of Michigan appointed Puzder as the chair of the Task Force for Mothers and Unborn Children.
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