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Labor Secretary Brock Says He Will Follow Reagan’s Lead, Listen to Congress

April 27, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ New Labor Secretary William E. Brock, a diplomat and politician who sailed to easy confirmation in the Senate, says he will follow the lead of the Reagan adminstration and listen to the advice of Congress in his new job.

The Senate, by unanimous voice vote, confirmed Brock on Friday. He replaces Raymond Donovan, who resigned March 15 after a New York state judge ordered him to stand trial on fraud and larceny charges in connection with his former construction company.

The nomination of the 55-year-old Brock, a former U.S. Representative and Senator from Tennessee, had been expected to breeze through the chamber even before his unanimous endorsment Tuesday by the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.

At his confirmation hearing, Brock admitted he had ″a great deal to learn about the job,″ but he said he would apply his department’s ″limited resource base to major problem areas as chosen by Congress.″

Asked in an interview earlier this month about his plans for the department, he responded: ″I assure you, I’m not coming into this job to fight the president’s programs.″

With Brock and his family looking down from the spectators’ gallery, a handful of senators rose to speak in support of the nominee for about 15 minutes before the confirmation vote.

″Bill has earned respect among those who will be his constituents as secretary of labor - the working men and women of this country, their employee representatives and their employers,″ said Labor and Human Resources Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

″The talents that Bill Brock brought to the job of trade representative will serve him well as labor secretary,″ said Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo. ″He is a politician. He knows the workings of Congress and he knows the working of the administration.″

President Reagan’s appointment of Brock is expected to lift sagging morale at the Labor Department as well as mend the administration’s frayed ties with organized labor.

Brock, who served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1977 to 1981 after 14 years in Congress, is scheduled to speak at the AFL- CIO’s annual executive council meeting next month. His invitation was the first extended to a U.S. labor secretary since 1981.

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