The Senate confirmed Boston mayor Marty Walsh as the Biden administration’s new Labor Secretary on Monday night, in a 68-29 vote.

“I am incredibly honored and privileged to serve as the United States’ next Secretary of Labor,” Walsh said in a statement. “I am grateful for the bipartisan support of members of the Senate, and I want to thank President Biden and Vice President Harris for their confidence in my ability to lead the Department of Labor during such a critical time in our nation’s history.”

“I have been a fighter for the rights of working people throughout my career, and I remain committed to ensuring that everyone – especially those in our most marginalized communities – receives and benefits from full access to economic opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace,” Walsh added. “I believe we must meet this historic moment and, as the nation’s Secretary of Labor, I pledge to help our economy build back better.”

The new head of the Labor Department has pledged his commitment to tech upgrades, including technology upgrades to help aging and overwhelmed state unemployment insurance systems.

“The unemployment system needs to be brought into the 21st century as far as technology,” Walsh told senators at his confirmation hearing last month. “We also have to make it easier for workers that are unemployed to access unemployment benefits and easier for workers that are unemployed when they go back to work to be able to let the states know that they’re back to work.”

Walsh called upgrades to the legacy systems “a necessary step,” saying many of the systems states are working with “are antiquated.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.