Representative Hilda L. Solis of California finally was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday to be secretary of labor. The 80-to-17 Senate vote ended more than a month of delays, triggered by Republican concern about her strong ties to organized laborer and disclosures about unpaid tax liens on her husband’s business. Solis, 51, was nominated by the White House on January 20.
According to her bio, freshly minted on the Department of Labor web site, “in the Congress, Solis’ priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she 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.
“Solis was first elected to public office in 1985 as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees. She served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994, and in 1994 made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. As the chairwoman of the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee, she led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. She also authored a record 17 state laws aimed at combating domestic violence.”