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Hilda Solis

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Title: Hilda Solis  
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Subject: Thomas Perez, Judy Chu, Presidency of Barack Obama, Elaine Chao, Gloria Romero (California politician)
Collection: 1957 Births, American Environmentalists, American People of Nicaraguan Descent, American Politicians of Mexican Descent, American Roman Catholics, California Democrats, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Alumni, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Faculty, California State Senators, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Female Members of the United States House of Representatives, Hispanic and Latino American Members of the Cabinet of the United States, Hispanic and Latino American Members of the United States Congress, Hispanic and Latino American Women in Politics, Living People, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Members of the California State Assembly, Members of the United States House of Representatives from California, Obama Administration Cabinet Members, People from El Monte, California, People from La Puente, California, United States Secretaries of Labor, University of Southern California Alumni, Usc Sol Price School of Public Policy Alumni, Women Members of the Cabinet of the United States, Women State Legislators in California
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Hilda Solis

Hilda Solis
Solis in 2013
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 1st district
Assumed office
December 1, 2014
Preceded by Gloria Molina
25th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
February 24, 2009 – January 22, 2013
President Barack Obama
Deputy Seth Harris
Preceded by Elaine Chao
Succeeded by Thomas Perez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd district
In office
January 3, 2003 – February 24, 2009
Preceded by Diane Watson
Succeeded by Judy Chu
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 31st district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Matthew Martínez
Succeeded by Xavier Becerra
Member of the California Senate
from the 24th district
In office
December 5, 1994 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by Arthur Torres
Succeeded by Gloria Romero
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 57th district
In office
December 7, 1992 – December 5, 1994
Preceded by Dave Elder
Succeeded by Martin Gallegos
Personal details
Born Hilda Lucia Solis
(1957-10-20) October 20, 1957
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater La Puente High School
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
University of Southern California
Religion Roman Catholicism

Hilda Lucia Solis (; born October 20, 1957) is an American politician and a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for District 1. Solis previously served as the 25th United States Secretary of Labor from 2009 to 2013, as part of the administration of President Barack Obama. She is a member of the Democratic Party and served in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2009, representing the 31st and 32nd congressional districts of California that include East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.

Solis was raised in La Puente, California, by immigrant parents from Nicaragua and Mexico. She gained degrees from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and the University of Southern California and worked for two federal agencies in Washington, D.C. Returning to her native state, she was elected to the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees in 1985, the California State Assembly in 1992, and the California State Senate in 1994. She was the first Hispanic woman to serve in the State Senate, and was reelected there in 1998. Solis sought to pass environmental justice legislation. She was the first female recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000.

Solis defeated a long-time Democratic incumbent as part of getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, where she focused mainly on labor causes and environmental work. She was reelected easily to four subsequent terms. In December 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Solis as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor. She took office after being confirmed by the United States Senate in February 2009, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet. There she focused on workplace safety issues and on strengthening compliance with wage and hour laws. In January 2013, Solis stepped down from her post as Labor Secretary.

Returning to the area of her upbringing, in April 2014 Solis formally announced a campaign for a seat on the non-partisan Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Solis won the seat outright in a June 3 election and was sworn in on December 1.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • California State Legislature 3
  • U.S. House of Representatives 4
  • U.S. Secretary of Labor 5
  • Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life and education

Solis was born in

California Assembly
Preceded by
Dave Elder
Member of the California Assembly
from the 57th district

Succeeded by
Martin Gallegos
California Senate
Preceded by
Arthur Torres
California State Senator
from the 24th district

Succeeded by
Gloria Romero
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Matthew Martínez
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 31st congressional district

Succeeded by
Xavier Becerra
Preceded by
Diane Watson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 32nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Judy Chu
Political offices
Preceded by
Elaine Chao
United States Secretary of Labor
Succeeded by
Thomas Perez
Civic offices
Preceded by
Gloria Molina
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from the 1st district


External links

  1. ^ a b c d e "Biographies.". National Journal. 2000-11-11. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Merl, Jean (2000-12-28). "Solis Prepares to Take Another Step Up".  
  3. ^ a b Solis, Hilda L. (6 June 2006). "Honoring Juana Sequeria Solis on Her 80th Birthday" (PDF).  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kornblut, Anne E. (2008-12-19). "Obama to Announce Final Cabinet Picks".  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Kimitch, Rebecca (2009-01-07). "Solis, a woman of many firsts, had a steady rise through California's political ranks" (fee required).  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "CQ Politics in America Profile: Hilda Solis".  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Greenhouse, Steven (5 July 2009). "As Labor Secretary, Finding Influence in Her Past".  
  8. ^ Chipman, Kim and Drajem, Mark (19 December 2008). "Obama to Name Solis to Labor Post, Kirk as Trade Representative".  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Morain, Dan and Larrubia, Evelyn (2009-01-09). "Hilda Solis' belief in unions runs deep".  
  10. ^ a b c  
  11. ^ "EOP ALumni".  
  12. ^ a b "The New Team: Hilda L. Solis".  
  13. ^ "Solis, Hilda (D) 24th District".  
  14. ^ a b "Hilda Solis (Dem)".  
  15. ^ "Solis Confirmed As Labor Secretary".  
  16. ^ a b "Final Results 1990" (PDF).  
  17. ^ "Informational Hearing: Instant Runoff and Ranked Choice Elections: Will They Lead to a Better Democracy?".  
  18. ^ a b "Statement of Vote, June 2, 1992".  
  19. ^ "Final Results 1992" (PDF).  
  20. ^ a b Acuña, Rodolfo (1996). Anything But Mexican: Chicanos in Contemporary Los Angeles.  
  21. ^ a b "Statement of Vote" (PDF).  
  22. ^ "Statement of Vote '94".  
  23. ^ "State Senator" (PDF).  
  24. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Emelyn (2001-12-01). "Hilda Solis: Profile in Courage".  
  25. ^ a b c Lerer, Lisa (13 January 2009). "Department of Labor: Hilda L. Solis".  
  26. ^ a b Sullivan, Susan (2004-02-17). "L.A.'s Wild Fringe".  
  27. ^ a b c Ingram, Carl (2000-06-02). "Ethics Law Bars Solis From Keeping Courage Award".  
  28. ^ a b "California State Senator Hilda Solis Receives 2000 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award" (Press release).  
  29. ^ a b c "Effects of Changing HOV Lane Occupancy Requirements: El Monte Busway Case Study". Intelligent Transportation Systems.  
  30. ^ a b c Shuit, Douglas P. (2000-01-22). "Easing of Carpool Rules Backfires as Lanes Jam".  
  31. ^ a b Shuit, Douglas P. (2000-05-17). "Bill to Restore El Monte Busway Moves Forward".  
  32. ^ a b c  
  33. ^ Meyerson, Harold (2008-12-19). "Labor's fresh face".  
  34. ^ "Statement of Vote 2000 Primary Election: Representatives in Congress" (PDF).  
  35. ^ Burton, Danielle (2009-02-13). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Hilda Solis".  
  36. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (2013-02-27). "National Park status for San Gabriel Mountains, river reach White House budget office".  
  37. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (2013-04-11). "National Park Service recommends scaled down recreation area for San Gabriel River, Puente Hills".  
  38. ^ a b c d Cooper, Helene and Greenhouse, Steven (2008-12-19). "Picks for Labor and Trade Positions Disagree on Policy".  
  39. ^ a b Weisman, Jonathan and Trottman, Melanie (2009-02-02). "Daschle Faces Questions on Trips".  
  40. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 443".  
  41. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 1060".  
  42. ^ "Solis Statement on Colombia Free Trade Agreement" (Press release). Hilda L. Solis Congressional Website. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  43. ^ a b O'Connor, Patrick and Parnes, Amie (2008-12-18). "Labor ties drive Solis pick".  
  44. ^ Nicholas, Peter (2008-12-19). "Obama to name pro-union Rep. Hilda Solis to Labor post".  
  45. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 661".  
  46. ^ "Solis Introduces Teen Pregnancy Prevention Bill".  
  47. ^ a b c "House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principles". Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro. 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  48. ^ Woodward, Kenneth L. (2008-05-28). "A Political Sacrament".  
  49. ^ "Voting Records".   Scores for years 2001 through 2007 were 100, for 2008 was 95 due to a missed vote.
  50. ^ "2008 U.S. House Votes".   Lifetime averages are given.
  51. ^ "Rep. Hilda L. Solis".  
  52. ^ Ensher, Ellen A.; Murphy, Susan E. (2005). Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Protégés Get the Most Out of Their Relationships.  
  53. ^ "United States Representative" (PDF).  
  54. ^ "The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Applauded President-elect Obama’s Nomination of Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis for Secretary of Labor" (Press release).  
  55. ^ a b Layton, Lyndsey (2007-02-22). "Women Call for Change in Caucus".  
  56. ^ Hearn, Josephine (10 November 2006). "House Dems strike leadership deal".  
  57. ^ "Hispanic Caucus Elects Leadership for the 111th Congress" (Press release).  
  58. ^ "H.R.1671".  
  59. ^ "AP source: Rep. Hilda Solis is Obama's labor pick". Associated Press ( 
  60. ^ Larrubia, Evelyn (2009-01-29). "L.A. County Federation of Labor endorses Chu for Congress".  
  61. ^ Kimitch, Rebecca (2009-07-14). "Judy Chu wins 32nd Congressional District race".  
  62. ^ a b Greenhouse, Steven (2009-01-09). "With Senate Hearing, Preparing for Change at Top of Labor Dept.".  
  63. ^ Raju, Manu (2009-01-16). "GOP-ers may block Solis confirmation".  
  64. ^ Friedman, Dan (2009-01-23). "Solis becomes latest nominee slowed by GOP roadblocks".  
  65. ^ Nicholas, Peter (2009-01-30). "Labor nominee Hilda Solis hits GOP roadblock".  
  66. ^ a b c Nicholas, Peter (2009-02-05). "Republicans want Labor nominee to stop lobbying for 'card check' bill".  
  67. ^ a b Fletcher, Michael A. (2009-02-05). "After Delay, Panel to Vote on Solis Nomination".  
  68. ^ a b c Kelley, Matt (2009-02-05). "Tax snafus add up for Obama team".  
  69. ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (2009-02-05). "Solis Senate Session Postponed in Wake of Husband's Tax Lien Revelations".  
  70. ^ a b Raju, Manu (2009-02-10). "GOP won't derail Solis on hubby's taxes".  
  71. ^ Hananel, Sam (2009-02-11). "Senate panel approves labor nominee Hilda Solis".  
  72. ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (2009-02-24). "Solis Cleared for Senate Confirmation Later Today".  
  73. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (2009-02-24). "Senate Confirms Solis as Labor Secretary Despite GOP Concerns".  
  74. ^ "Solis Formally Sworn in as Labor Secretary".  
  75. ^ "NALEO Congratulates Hilda L. Solis on Her Confirmation as Secretary of Labor" (Press release).  
  76. ^ Kuznia, Rob (2009-02-24). "Hilda Solis is the New U.S. Secretary of Labor".  
  77. ^ Stafford, Diane (2009-02-26). "New jobless claims hit 667,000".  
  78. ^ "Green jobs in focus as task force on middle class begins work".  
  79. ^ Greenhouse, Steven (2009-03-07). "At Labor Gathering, Luxury, Jockeying and Applause for Secretary".  
  80. ^ Trottman, Melanie (2009-03-25). "U.S. Steps Up Wage-Law Enforcement".  
  81. ^ a b c d Hananel, Sam (2010-01-01). "Labor Chief Moves on Job Safety, Workers' Rights".  
  82. ^ Preston, Julia (2009-05-29). "Rule Change for Workers on Farms".  
  83. ^ Jervis, Rick (2009-07-20). "Hispanic worker deaths up 76%".  
  84. ^ a b c d e Landler, Mark; Greenhouse, Steven (2013-01-09). "Solis Stepping Down as Labor Secretary".  
  85. ^ Trottman, Melanie; Maher, Kris (2009-12-08). "Solis Pushes Agenda to Bolster Labor".  
  86. ^ a b Ward, Jr., Ken (2010-04-16). "Probe to examine impact of surface blasting at Upper Big Branch".  
  87. ^ a b c d Mufson, Steven; Nakamura, David (2013-01-09). "Hilda Solis resigns as labor secretary; some others in Cabinet to stay on".  
  88. ^ Singh, Tejinder (2010-04-21). "G20 Ministers Agree On Acceleration Of Job Creation".  
  89. ^ a b Kamen, Al (2010-04-23). "AFGE pushes for flextime at Labor Department".  
  90. ^ Wage and Hour Division. "Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act" (PDF).  
  91. ^ Lipka, Sara (2010-04-29). "Leave Internships to Us, College Leaders Tell Feds".  
  92. ^ Eckholm, Erik (2010-06-18). "U.S. Cracks Down on Farmers Who Hire Children".  
  93. ^ Jamieson, Dave (2012-04-27). "Child Labor Farm Rules Scrapped By White House Under Political Pressure".  
  94. ^ Brusk, Steve (2011-02-26). "'"Labor Secretary Solis: 'Elections do matter.  
  95. ^ a b c d Semuels, Alana; Reston, Maeve (2013-01-09). "Labor Secretary Solis says she's returning to California".  
  96. ^ Donovan Slack (October 5, 2012). "'"Solis: Charges of cooking numbers 'ludicrous.  
  97. ^ Chris Isidore (October 5, 2012). "Jack Welch questions jobs numbers".  
  98. ^ Llenas, Bryan (2012-10-05). "Obama Labor Secretary Solis 'Insulted' by Claims Job Numbers are Fixed".  
  99. ^ Puga, Kristina (January 23, 2013). "Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis bids farewell".  
  100. ^ a b c d Llorente, Elizabeth (2013-01-09). "Hilda Solis Resigns as Labor Secretary".  
  101. ^ Romero, Dennis (2013-01-09). "Hilda Solis Resigns As Obama's Secretary Of Labor, Could Be Returning To L.A. Politics".  
  102. ^ a b c d Simon, Richard (2013-01-18). "Hilda Solis considering a run for L.A. County Board of Supervisors".  
  103. ^ a b Llenas, Bryan (2013-01-10). "Hilda Solis Set to Become Queen of LA After Resignation, Eyes Powerful County Position".  
  104. ^ a b c "Hilda Solis, Former Labor Chief, Wins Seat On Powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors".  
  105. ^ a b c d Chokshi, Niraj (2014-06-04). "From White House cabinet to county office: Why Hilda Solis is back home".  
  106. ^ Rivera, Carla (2013-11-21). "Former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis takes Cal Poly Pomona post".  
  107. ^ Pringle, Paul; Sewell, Abby (2014-05-09). "Complaint over Obama fundraiser triggered Solis probe".  
  108. ^ Sewell, Abby (2014-07-16). "Rep. Issa says recording is evidence of improper fundraising by Solis".  
  109. ^ a b Sewell, Abby (2014-04-05). "Hilda Solis officially kicks off campaign for county supervisor".  
  110. ^ "Supervisor – 1st District".  


On April 5, 2014, Solis formally announced the start of her campaign for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat, with the election to be held on June 3.[109] By this time she had raised over $600,000 for her effort and was considered the favorite to win the contest.[109] News of the federal investigation had little effect on her campaign.[104] Solis won the seat on June 4, 2014,[104] garnering 70 percent of the vote against two other opponents.[110] The margin meant she won the seat outright and would not need to run in a runoff election.[105]

During early 2014, reports emerged that the United States Office of Special Counsel, the United States Department of Justice, and the FBI had begun investigating Solis during 2012 for possible violations of fundraising rules by federal officials during her time as Labor Secretary. Allegations were made that Solis solicited subordinates for funds for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Obama. A spokesperson for Solis said that she believed she had done nothing wrong.[107] The matter was also being looked into by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and its chair, Representative Darrell Issa, who said there was evidence supporting the allegations.[108]

In November 2013, Solis became a scholar-in-residence at her alma mater of Cal Poly Pomona. Her duties were to include guest lecturing in classes, mentoring students, and assisting in curriculum development, with a focus in political science.[106]

Later during January 2013, Solis confirmed her interest in the County Board of Supervisors race, saying "I'm going to take a look at it."[102] In explaining why a former U.S. Representative and Cabinet member would be interested in a county-level body, analysts stated that the board is the most powerful county-level legislative body in the United States,[103] and exercises some executive and quasi-judicial powers as well.[104] It controls a workforce larger than the Labor Department's[102] and its $26 billion budget is equivalent to that of an average U.S. state.[105] Each member presiding over some two million constituents, three times that of Solis' old congressional district,[105] and that it is quite possibly the fourth most powerful position in California politics, after Governor, U.S. Senator, and Mayor of Los Angeles.[102][103] The supervisors have long been nicknamed "the five little kings".[105]

Solis's departure from the Labor Department was linked to an interest in running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2014, when incumbent Gloria Molina is term-limited.[100][101] She also said she wanted to rest, reconnect with her local community after twelve years in Washington, and spend time with her now 87-year-old mother.[102]

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Solis, who had never become part of the inner circle of presidential advisors,[84] said it had been a difficult decision and Obama praised her work as secretary.[100] Reflecting upon her tenure, Solis generally garnered praise from labor unions and leading Democrats for her stricter enforcement of job safety regulations and more aggressive pursuit of wage and hour violators.[84][87][100] Other leaders and analysts in the labor field thought her performance as secretary was underwhelming, with minimal public visibility and no memorable legacy left behind.[95] All agreed that she operated in a difficult political environment, with the effects of the Great Recession still being felt, Republicans staunchly opposed to labor-based initiatives, and the Obama administration's attentions focused elsewhere.[87][95] Business groups, meanwhile, continued to characterize her as having been uncooperative in her dealings with them.[84][100]

On January 9, 2013, Solis tendered her resignation as Secretary of Labor, becoming one of several Cabinet members deciding not to stay on for Obama's second term.[87] Her last day in office was January 22, 2013.[99]

On her last day as secretary, Solis was given a farewell gift of the chair she used in Cabinet meetings.

In October 2012, Solis defended the work of the [98] For the year, the Labor Department set a record for the most back pay it had ever collected due to wage violations, $280 million going to some 300,000 workers.[84] Workplace fatalities in construction and general industrial sectors reached an all-time low.[95]

In February 2011, as protests continued over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposal to limit that state's public employee unions' collective bargaining rights, and similar proposals were made in other states, Solis spoke out strongly and emotionally against such moves, saying "[those governors] aren't just asking workers to tighten their belts, they're demanding they give up their uniquely American rights as workers".[94] Overall, however, the Obama administration did not speak out forcefully against these moves.[95]

) [93] (Proposed new rules in this area were dropped in 2012, however, following adamant criticism from conservatives and agricultural groups.[92] The year additionally saw Solis leading an administration campaign against farmers who employed children or underpaid workers.[91] the move brought resistance from universities.[90] The year also saw the department trying to crack down on firms that illegally use summer internships for free labor, by clarifying what may constitute an unpaid academic internship;[89] The department said the program was modern and fair and that it was part of ongoing contract negotiations with the local.[89] Whether Solis would try to revive [85] For 2010, Solis's agenda was to enact some ninety new rules and regulations intended to grant more power to unions and to workers.

The April 2010 meeting of the G*‑20 labor ministers at the Department of Labor was the first of its kind.

In her first days as secretary, Solis affirmed an extension to unemployment benefits specified by the [81]

[7] Accordingly, she hoped to reinvigorate it.[7] Solis became the first Hispanic woman to serve as a regular U.S. cabinet secretary and the first cabinet secretary with

A vote on Solis's committee confirmation was set on February 5, but postponed after news that Solis's husband Sam Sayyad had just paid $6,400 in outstanding state and local tax liens dating back to 1993 for his auto repair business.[68][69] Sayyad had filed a separate tax return from Solis, and intended to contest the lien as they were for business taxes he believed to have already paid.[70] A White House spokesperson stated Solis should not be penalized for any mistakes that her husband may have made.[68] The revelations came in the wake of several other Obama nominations troubled or derailed due to tax issues.[68] Committee Republicans subsequently indicated they would not blame Solis, but were still concerned about her ties to American Rights at Work.[70] On February 11, 2009, the committee approved her nomination by voice vote with two votes opposed.[71] After still further delays, Republicans agreed not to subject her nomination to a filibuster and on February 24, 2009, Solis was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 80–17.[72] She resigned from the House and was sworn into her new position that evening.[73] (A ceremonial swearing in featuring Vice President Joe Biden was later held on March 13.[74])

Secretary Solis is greeted on her first day of work at the Frances Perkins Building.

Solis's confirmation hearings were held on January 9, 2009, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.[62] Committee chair Ted Kennedy repeatedly praised her, while, despite examination by Republican members, Solis declined to discuss specific policy issues, including the Employee Free Choice Act.[62] Several days later, Senate Republicans said they might try to put a procedural hold on her nomination because of her unwillingness to answer questions in detail in the hearings.[63] By January 23, a secret hold was placed on the nomination by an anonymous Republican.[64][65] A series of written questions and responses between Republican members and Solis followed, during which she was more forthcoming.[66] Republican Mike Enzi pressed her on whether her unpaid high-level positions at American Rights at Work constituted prohibited lobbying activity; Solis denied violation of rules of conduct and stated she had not helped lobbying.[39][66] Solis did acknowledge that she had failed to report those positions on her annual House financial disclosure forms at the time, which a White House spokesperson argued was an unintentional oversight.[66] On February 2, Obama appointed veteran Labor Department official Edward C. Hugler as Acting Secretary.[67] The prolonged process was considered by some Republican aides to be a preview of future battles on labor issues between the Obama administration and Republicans in Congress.[67]

[61] emerged on top and eventually won the general election).Judy Chu (from which her past mentee [60]; she declined to endorse a candidate in the primaryspecial election in California's 32nd congressional district Solis's successor was chosen in a [4] The official announcement was made by Obama on December 19.[4].Center for Union Facts and the anti-union group [38] On December 18, 2008, sources close to the

Solis speaks at the announcement of her being chosen as the new Secretary of Labor. President-elect Barack Obama and United States Trade Representative-to-be Ron Kirk look on.
Official portrait as Secretary of Labor

U.S. Secretary of Labor

Solis was a strong supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential bid; when that fell short, Barack Obama aggressively sought her support, as part of strengthening his appeal to Hispanic voters.[4] She supported Clinton's effort to establish a U.S. Public Service Academy and was a co-sponsor of a House bill to create one.[58] Solis did not become wealthy from her political career; by 2008, she and her husband's main assets consisted of retirement funds and his auto shop, valued at under $100,000.[9]

Solis chaired the Health and the Environment Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during the 110th Congress.[54] However, during 2006 and 2007, Solis was part of a falling out between several female representatives and Joe Baca, leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, arguing there was a "lack of respect afforded to women members of the Hispanic Caucus," which Baca denied.[6] She had previously broken ties with the caucus' political action committee over its campaign contributions to Baca's sons.[55] Baca responded that Solis "was a kiss-up" to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a remark for which he later apologized.[55] Solis was indeed considered a close ally of Pelosi,[38] which helped her get a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee.[6] She considered running for the position of Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman for the 110th Congress, but deferred to incumbent John Larson after Rahm Emanuel chose to run for caucus chair, which Larson had been running for.[56] Solis's aggressive fundraising for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gained her a vice chair position on the Democratic Steering & Policy Committee.[6] At the time of her selection to Obama's cabinet, she had been elected 2nd vice chair of the Hispanic Caucus[57] and was considered a potential candidate for a leadership position in the House.[43]

Earlier official photo of Solis

After the 2000 census and subsequent redistricting, Solis's area became part of California's 32nd congressional district. She was reelected for additional terms in 2002, 2004, and 2006 by very large margins, twice with no Republican in opposition.[6] She ran unopposed in 2008.[53]

Solis was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus[6] and rated a lifetime "liberal quotient" of 99 percent from Americans for Democratic Action,[49] and a lifetime 2 percent rating from the American Conservative Union.[50] From 2006 to 2008 she wrote blog entries for The Huffington Post.[51] Solis believed in the importance of mentoring, and as a House member continued relationships she had established with up-and-coming political figures in her district, including California State Assemblywoman Judy Chu and Monterey Park Mayor Sharon Martinez.[52]

Solis is Roman Catholic and pro-choice.[47] Along with 47 other Catholic members of Congress, she sent a letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C., in order to dissuade him from refusing them the sacraments because of their pro-choice legislative voting.[48] Solis signed a "Statement of Principles," stating her commitment to her faith as well as her disagreement with the Roman Catholic Church on some issues.[47] They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they decided to follow their conscience instead of the Church teachings.[47]

Solis supported legislation aimed at reducing the number of teen pregnancies within Latina and African American communities[46] and sponsored a bill, that became law in 2003, that granted U.S. citizenship to immigrants after one year of military service instead of the previous three years.[4]

During her tenure in the House Solis was an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform. She was one of the leading opponents of H.R. 4437 a House bill sponsored by Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and voted against it.[45]

Solis (third from left) at a 2006 dedication ceremony for a conservation land acquisition along the San Gabriel River

[25] is one of Solis's role models.Dolores Huerta co-founder United Farm Workers [25] and was a major recipient of union political donations.[44] She received 100 percent ratings from several pro-labor groups for the years 2005 through 2007,[43] Solis opposed legislation that would soften job safety requirements.[42], citing concerns about human rights violations.U.S.-Colombia trade agreement and also expressed opposition to a purposed bilateral [41],U.S.-Peru trade agreement and the [40]Dominican Republic–Central America trade agreement On trade she voted against both the [39][38] Solis was not a member of the

As congresswoman, Solis was most known for her work on environmental issues as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.[4] She made the promotion of green-collar jobs a priority[4] and sponsored the Southern California portion of the California Wild Heritage Act, which would create or enlarge many wilderness areas.[26] In 2003 she sponsored legislation that funded a National Park Service study to designate a large swath of the Angeles National Forest, the Puente and Chino Hills, and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River, a National Recreation Area.[36] (In 2013, after Solis had left the Obama administration, the Park Service recommended proceeding with a greatly reduced version of the original proposal; while other advocates evinced disappointment, Solis said it was still a positive step and that Congress could expand the area in whatever legislation it undertook.[37])

[7] Her Washington apartment was tiny.[35] Upon arriving in the House of Representatives, Solis was named freshman class

She defeated the incumbent Martínez in the March 2000 Democratic primary by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin.[34] On primary night, Martínez called Solis "obnoxious" and accused her of untruthful advertising.[1] He subsequently switched to the Republican Party, and urged Latinos to vote against her, to no great effect.[32] Without a Republican opponent in the general election, Solis beat three little-known challengers from third parties and won 79 percent of the vote.[2]

Solis at a 2006 appearance with local pharmacists concerned with Medicare Part D implementation

Term limits would have prevented Solis from seeking reelection to the State Senate.[14] After months of deliberation, she decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 against 18-year incumbent Matthew G. Martínez in the 31st congressional district, which consisted largely of working class Hispanics and Asians.[2] This action was criticized by Hispanics and others, and only two members of Congress, Barbara Boxer and Loretta Sanchez, supported her.[6][7] Martínez was more conservative than many of his constituents, as he had supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), opposed gun control, and supported bans on specific abortion procedures.[1][33] He was also criticized for lacking effort and neglecting his district.[2] Solis was able to obtain the support of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (which called her a "warrior for working families"),[7] Emily's List, Handgun Control Incorporation, the Sierra Club and the California League of Conservation Voters. With their help, Solis outspent Martínez by a 4-to-1 margin and had hundreds of volunteers working for her.[32]

Congresswoman Hilda Solis, left, presents a posthumous Purple Heart to the widow of a World War II veteran in El Monte, California, in 2004.

U.S. House of Representatives

Due to her work in overcoming obstacles for environmental justice, in 2000 Solis was given the People magazines and on the Today show.[2] Art Torres, who had become California Democratic Party chair, said of Solis, "She's going to be a national star".[2]

Solis faced controversy with her 1999 legislation, SB 63, that lowered the carpool restrictions on the El Monte Busway from three or more occupants to two or more.[29][30] When this took effect in January 2000, it quickly resulted in greatly increased volume on the busway and protests from bus riders and prior carpoolers.[30] Solis at first defended the change,[30] but it continued to have a detrimental effect on the busway and did not improve flow in the regular traffic lanes.[29][31] By May, she was co-sponsoring legislation to rescind the change and restore the higher occupancy requirement,[31] which passed and took effect in July 2000.[29]

Solis was an environmental activist in the State Senate, due to concerns that stemmed from a childhood spent within smelling distance of the Puente Hills Landfill[9] and making frequent visits to the San Gabriel Mountains.[26] In 1997, she worked to pass environmental justice legislation with a law to protect low-income and minority communities from newly located landfills, pollution sources, and other environmental hazards in neighborhoods that already had such sites.[27] She got the bill, SB 1113, approved over the strong opposition of various business interests, water contractors, and some state government agencies, but Wilson vetoed it.[27] She returned in 1999 with a weakened measure, which was signed by Governor Gray Davis.[27] Calling for "the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws",[28] it represented the first legislation of its kind in the nation and is considered a landmark.[2][7]

In the State Senate, Solis authored 17 bills to prevent ballot initiative the next year, using $50,000 of her own campaign funds and rallying union support.[2][24] The initiative's passing garnered her a statewide reputation[25] and other states followed with similar initiatives.[9] She chaired the labor committee and established herself as loyal to labor interests, but made a point of establishing relationships with Republicans on the committee.[9] Solis held high-profile hearings on labor law enforcement following a summer 1995 sweatshop raid in El Monte that discovered more than 70 Thai workers existing in slave-like conditions.[9] She called garment manufacturers to explain themselves and pushed for tougher enforcement of anti-sweatshop laws.[9] Republican State Senator Ray Haynes later said that Solis was "a committed liberal in the pockets of labor", but Republican State Senate Leader Rob Hurtt said of her, "We obviously didn't see eye to eye. But she was respectful. I'll give her credit; she was a very hard worker and she knew her stuff."[9]

The Democratic incumbent in Solis's 24th State Senate district, Art Torres,[16] gave up his office when he received the 1994 Democratic nomination for the statewide office of California Insurance Commissioner.[21] Solis ran for the seat, won the Democratic primary with 63 percent of the vote against two opponents,[22] and then won the 1994 general election with 63 percent of the vote against Republican Dave Boyer's 33 percent.[21] She became the first Hispanic woman to ever serve in the State Senate and the first woman ever to represent the San Gabriel Valley;[5] she was also the Senate's youngest member at that time.[6] She was reelected in 1998 with 74 percent of the vote.[23]

In her one term in the State Assembly, Solis was prominent in the debate on illegal immigration to the United States, backing a bill to allow immigrants in the United States illegally to attend California colleges as long as they were residing in the state.[5] She backed labor and opposed the tobacco industry in supporting a bill that banned smoking in all workplaces.[9] She served on committees dealing with education, labor, and environmental issues, including a new committee that dealt with groundwater contamination and landfill leakage.[5] She was not known as a strong orator.[9]

Solis had the opportunity to run for the California State Assembly when, after California's 1991 redistricting, the incumbent Dave Elder[16] in Solis's 57th State Assembly district was shifted into another district,[17] while her new representative retired.[9] In the June 1992 Democratic primary to fill the open seat,[18] Solis's opponents had the endorsement of powerful State Assemblyman Richard Polanco and the former incumbent.[9] Solis had the support of Molina and U.S. Representative Barbara Boxer, in an effort that focused on door-to-door campaigning[5] and featured Solis's mother making burritos for campaign volunteers.[9] Solis came out on top of a three-way Democratic race, receiving 49 percent of the vote and besting her nearest competitor, future Assemblyman Ed Chavez, who received 31 percent.[18] In the general election, Solis garnered 61 percent of the vote against Republican Gary Woods' 34 percent, and gained election to the Assembly.[19] She was one of seven Latinos who won election to the Assembly in the wake of the redistricting and became collectively known as Los Siete.[20] Solis was among the most liberal of this ideologically diverse group.[20]

California State Legislature

[15].Art Torres Solis also served as chief of staff for State Senator [2], a political mentor.Gloria Molina Los Angeles County Supervisor by Los Angeles County Commission on Insurance She gained added political visibility in 1991 when she was named a commissioner to the [10] In particular, she worked with the [2] Returning to California, Solis became Director of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program in 1982, to help disadvantaged youth gain necessary preparation for college.

In Washington, she met Sam H. Sayyad,[9] whom she subsequently married. He owns an automobile repair center in Irwindale, California.[9] The couple lives in a modest house in El Monte, California, not far from where she grew up.[9]

Solis served near the end of the Carter administration in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs,[1] where she was editor-in-chief of a newsletter during a 1980–1981 Washington semester internship[2][6][13] as part of her master's program.[9] At the start of the Reagan administration in 1981, she became a management analyst at the civil rights division of the Office of Management and Budget, but her dislike for Ronald Reagan's policies motivated her to leave later that year.[6][14]

Early career

She was the first of her family to go to college,[2] being accepted into the Educational Opportunity Program (which assists low-income, first-generation college students) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona)[11] and paying for it with the help of government grants and part-time jobs.[2] She graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science.[2][12] She then earned a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Southern California in 1981.[1]

Hilda Solis is the third oldest of seven siblings (four sisters, two brothers) and grew up in a tract home in La Puente, California.[9] She had to help raise her youngest siblings, and later said of her childhood: "It wasn't what you would call the all-American life for a young girl growing up. We had to mature very quickly."[6] She graduated from La Puente High School,[10] where she saw a lack of support for those wishing to continue their education,[5] including a guidance counselor who told her mother that “Your daughter is not college material. Maybe she should follow the career of her older sister and become a secretary.”[7] However, another counselor did encourage her to attend college, and even went to her house to help her fill out an application.[6] She took her younger sisters to the library to get them to follow her lead.[9]

[6][2].Roman Catholic She stressed the importance of education and was a devout [7] and was outspoken about working conditions.[8],United Rubber Workers belonged to the [3] once her children were all of school age,Mattel Her mother worked for over 20 years on the assembly line of [7].lead poisoning but also contracted [6]

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