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Gubernatorial candidate Perez quits law job after learning firm is defending Maryland in unemployment benefits lawsuits

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez resigned Friday from the Venable law firm after learning it is representing the state in its attempt to cut benefits for unemployed workers.

Perez, a Democrat, joined the firm earlier this year as a partner. He described his role there as “part-time.”

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Perez has been among many critics of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to end enhanced unemployment benefits offered during the coronavirus pandemic, such as payments to contract workers and those who exhausted regular benefits, two months before the federal funding runs out.

Two lawsuits are pending against the governor, who is being represented by a team of attorneys from Venable, which has hundreds of employees spread over 10 offices.

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“The governor’s position is inconsistent with my values and the future I want to build for Maryland,” Perez said in a statement. “As a result, I have resigned from my position with the firm.”

Perez joined the other eight announced Democratic candidates earlier in the day in issuing statements critical of Hogan’s decision on the unemployment benefits. The statements were gathered and publicized by the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions.

Perez’s statement said it was “cruel and foolish to cut off an essential program” that supports people who are struggling.

Perez is a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, federal labor secretary and state labor secretary.

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Two Republicans have also announced gubernatorial campaigns in 2022. Hogan is serving his second term and is barred from running again due to term limits.

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