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Obama names Secretary of Labor appointee (12/19)

December 19, 2008
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At a press conference held today in Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he intends to nominate United States Congresswoman Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor, according to a press release from The Office of the President-Elect (http://Change.gov).

First elected in 2000, Congresswoman Hilda Solis is serving her fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 32nd Congressional District of California. Prior to her election to Congress, Solis served eight years in the California state legislature.

As a California State Senator, she led the battle to increase the state’s minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. In August 2000, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues in California. In 2003, she became the first Latina appointed to the Committee on Energy and Commerce where she is the Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee and a member of the Health and Telecommunications Subcommittees. She is also a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

In March 2007, Solis was named a member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. She is the Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and serves as a Senior Whip, as well as a Regional Whip for Southern California. She is also serving her third term as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Task Force on Health and the Environment. Solis is a lifetime resident of the San Gabriel Valley and currently resides in the city of El Monte with her husband Sam, a small business owner.

In his statement to the press, Obama referred to Solis an “advocate for everyday people.” He added: “I know that Hilda will show the same kind of leadership as Secretary of Labor that she showed in California and on the Education and Labor Committee by protecting workers’ rights – from organizing to collective bargaining, from keeping our workplaces safe to making our unions strong.”

Obama also announced other key team members who he says will play a crucial role in the new administration’s efforts to strengthen the economy. Those appointees are: former United States Congressman Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk as United States Trade Representative, and Karen G. Mills as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

President-elect Obama said, “I know we will be headed in the right direction again when we are creating jobs, instead of losing them, and when Americans are gaining ground in terms of their incomes, instead of treading water or falling behind. The appointees announced today will play an integral role in our efforts to turn our economy around. Daunting as the challenges we are inheriting may be, I’m convinced that our team and the American people are prepared to meet them.”

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