February 1, 2021

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez (1).jpg

Alex Hertel Fernandez
Alex Hertel-Fernandez will serve as Chief Evaluation Officer at the Department of Labor.
SIPA congratulates political scientist
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, who was sworn in as the Chief Evaluation Officer at the Department of Labor on January 20. The Biden-Harris administration appointed Hertel-Fernandez to the role, which involves overseeing a research and evaluation team in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy.

Hertel-Fernandez will be taking public service leave from SIPA, where he is an associate professor and has taught since 2016. His research focuses extensively on U.S. political economy, especially labor and workplace action. In June, Hertel-Fernandez co-authored a study about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on essential workers.

“While I'm sorry to leave SIPA, my students, and my colleagues, I'm thrilled and honored by the opportunity to serve in government under this administration—particularly at a time when our country faces so many daunting challenges,” Hertel-Fernandez told SIPA News. “I am eager to apply my background in research and teaching on labor policy, the workplace, and the policymaking process to this position, and to bring what I learn back to my work when I return to SIPA.”

Hertel-Fernandez also studies the impact of wealth and organized interests on public policy. His most recent book, State Capture (2019), examines how conservative political mobilization across states over several decades transformed state policy and politics.

Hertel-Fernandez looks forward to working on labor policy in the nation’s capital for many reasons. “My husband and I adopted a puppy during the pandemic and we named her Frannie after a personal hero of mine: the pioneering Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, who served under FDR,” he said. Perkins first worked on labor issues in New York before moving to Washington. “I'm excited for our family—Frannie included—to be following in her footsteps!”

Hertel-Fernandez serves as a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute as well as Data for Progress. He received his BA in political science from Northwestern University and his PhD in government and social policy from Harvard University.