U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif.

Obama Picks L.A. Congresswoman for Labor Secretary

U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, a Democrat who represents California's 32nd District, is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for secrtary of Labor in his new administration, multiple news sites have reported this afternoon. Solis won immediate praise from the Change to Win Coalition, a group of labor unions that broke from the AFL-CIO and backed Obama during his long presidential campaign this year.

Change to Win Chair Anna Burger said the group "would welcome the appointment of Congresswoman Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor and would be excited to work with her to help restore the economy, rebuild the middle class, and renew the American Dream. She would make the Labor Department an agency that once again protects and promotes the well-being of America’s working men and women. President-elect Obama promised to make government work for working Americans, and the appointment of Hilda Solis would make that promise real."

Solis serves on the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce and is vice chair of its Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee. Her other committee assignments are the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Change to Win pointed out that she is a sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that is organized labor's top priority for the new administration because it would make it much easier to organize workplaces. Employer groups, congressional Republicans, and the outgoing Bush administration, including currrent Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, strongly oppose the bill.

Solis' nomination continues the practice of putting women at the top of the Labor Department; there has not been a male secretary of Labor since Robert Reich during the early years of Bill Clinton's presidency.

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