Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Resigns

January 12, 2013

U.S Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis resigned her position this week. She was the first Hispanic female to hold a cabinet position. A former U.S. House Representative, she is well-versed on the issues of the CNMI foreign workers. (See these posts: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, No Need for an Extension, Hearing May 18, 2010, Hilda Solis Signs Agreement with Foreign Countries to Ensure Justice for Migrant Workers

Her resignation letter to colleagues contained these remarks:
Over the Christmas and New Year holidays with my family in California, I enjoyed my first opportunity in years to reflect on the past and my future, with an open mind and an open heart. After much discussion with family and close friends, I have decided to begin a new future, and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life. 
This afternoon, I submitted my resignation to President Obama. Growing up in a large Mexican-American family in La Puente, California, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to serve in a president's Cabinet, let alone in the service of such an incredible leader. 
Because President Obama took very bold action, millions of Americans are back to work. There is still much to do, but we are well on the road to recovery, and middle class Americans know the president is on their side. 
Together we have achieved extraordinary things and I am so proud of our work on behalf of the nation's working families. It has been more than an honor to work alongside you in fulfilling the department's mission. Working with all of you as the nation's 25th secretary of labor, I have come to learn that the work we do every day is indeed a labor of love. 
I am humbled by the commitment of every single employee of this department — from the folks here in Washington to those who directly touch communities out in the field. Each of you brings passion to your work, and collectively, that makes a significant difference in the lives of our nation's working families. 
We have much to be proud of. In the past four years, more than 1.7 million people have completed federally-funded job training programs; of those, more than one million have earned industry-recognized credentials. In addition, Labor Department investments in our community colleges have expanded their capacity to provide local, flexible, employer-specific job training to millions of Americans, and transformed these institutions into engines of economic growth. . . 
. . .Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because I have taken our mission to heart. As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve. 
President Obama released this statement:
Over 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. Over the last four years, 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. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA) who has chaired the Education and Labor Committee from 2007 to 2010 would make an excellent replacement for Secretary Solis. However, with debate over President Obama's recent all-white male cabinet appointments, an appointment of a woman would be more likely.