Hilda Solis, the first U.S. Hispanic woman to head a White House cabinet position, resigned today as Secretary of Labor.
Ms. Solis championed affordable health care and clean energy jobs as Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama. She initiated and authored the "Green Jobs Act," which provided funding for "green collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line," according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.
Ms. Solis, a legislator and public-policy manager, began her elected political career as a state assemblywoman for California from 1992-94 and was subsequently elected to the state senate. Later, she was elected to the U.S. Congress, representing California's 32nd congressional district.
In a press statement, President Obama praised Ms. Solis for "her long career in public service – as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor - Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families."
Related story: "Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis Talks Jobs, Issues Affecting Hispanics"
She was confirmed as Secretary of Labor in February 2009, transitioning from her elected position in Congress. In addition to the diversity Ms. Solis brought to Obama's White House cabinet, she earned a reputation for her diplomatic efforts on behalf of environmental and humanitarian causes as a member of the Helsinki Commission and the Mexico-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Group. A U.S. representative at the time, Ms. Solis was the only elected official to serve on the Helsinki Commission's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions.
In his official statement announcing Ms. Solis' resignation, President Obama noted that she was an important component of his "team."
"Over the last four years," the president stated, "Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers' health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work."
In the politically-charged environment of Washington, D.C., where various presidential cabinet positions are presently being filled that require Congressional confirmation, the ease with which Ms. Solis was confirmed as Secretary of Labor four years ago is a testament to the relatively non-controversial role she played in the president's cabinet.
"I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people," President Obama stated. "I wish her all the best in her future endeavors."
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