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Obama picks his first Asian American deputy secretary of cabinet department

Chris Lu, who was White House cabinet secretary during President Obama’s first term, is going to be nominated to be deputy secretary of Labor, the White House announced Wednesday, making him the first Asian American to be nominated to a deputy secretaryship during this administration.

If confirmed, Lu would replace deputy secretary Seth Harris, who had been in that position since 2009. He did a six-month stint as acting secretary earlier this year. He’s leaving next week for a teaching gig at Cornell.

Asian Americans have been pushing to fill sub-cabinet level positions –– an effort to build a strong bench for future selections to cabinet posts. Lu apparently would be only the second Asian American deputy secretary of a cabinet department  in history, certainly in recent history. (Elaine Chao, former deputy secretary of Transportation in the Bush I administration, was the first.