Big Shoes to Fill: Solis' Departure Calls for Nomination of Workers' Rights Advocate
Last Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis resigned from her position after serving in the role since the earliest days of Obama's first term. Her departure sticks out like a sore thumb in a week when President Obama took heat for not appointing enough women to his cabinet as he begins his second term. In addition to adding gender diversity, Solis was also the first Latina to ever serve in a Presidential cabinet. As she wrote in her resignation letter, "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."
A former four-term member of Congress, there is word that Solis plans to run for office again in Southern California, possibly for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Beyond the symbolic relevance of her presence in the Cabinet, Solis's leadership at the DOL was significant for workers' rights policy, and thus the question of who will replace her is one that labor and employment rights groups throughout the country are looking at with concern. As Solis notes in her resignation letter, she was a strong proponent of expanding unemployment insurance, job training programs, and implementing provisions of the Affordable Care Act.