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WATCH: Senate committee votes on Biden’s picks to lead education, labor departments

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee voted Feb. 11 on Miguel Cardona and Marty Walsh, Biden’s nominations for education secretary and labor secretary, respectively.

Watch the vote in the video player above.

Miguel Cardona, who has served as the Connecticut commissioner of education since 2019, is promising to help reopen schools but says much of the hardest work will come after that as schools try to address long-standing disparities worsened by the pandemic.

“These inequities will endure, and prevent the potential of this great country, unless tackled head-on,” Miguel Cardona said in testimony prepared for the Senate committee hearing last week. “And so, it is our responsibility, and it would be my greatest privilege, if confirmed, to forge opportunity out of this crisis.”

Cardona, 45, became Connecticut’s state education chief in 2019 after spending years as a teacher and administrator in the public school district in Meriden, Connecticut, which he also attended as a child. If confirmed, he is expected to play a pivotal role in supporting schools as they recover from a crisis that has laid bare many of their shortcomings.

In his testimony, Cardona called this school year one of the most challenging in American history and said it has taken a tremendous toll on students, parents and educators.

“Throughout my career, I’ve led by listening, collaborating and building partnerships. That’s how, if confirmed, I will lead the Department of Labor,” labor secretary nominee Marty Walsh told the Senate committee during his hearing last week.

Walsh a former union worker, 53, has served as the Democratic mayor of Boston since 2014.

When he took the oath of office for his second term as Boston’s chief executive in 2018, Biden presided over the inauguration.

Before that, Walsh served as a state representative for more than a decade.

Walsh has a long history with labor, he served as president of Laborers Local 223 and, before becoming mayor, headed up the Boston Building Trades — a union umbrella organization.

The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.