04/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Congratulations Hilda Solis!

Congratulations to Congresswoman Hilda Solis who was confirmed as Secretary of Labor last week!

Secretary Hilda Solis is one of the reasons that I founded the CALIFORNIA List. I was working for EMILY's List and met then Califoria State Senator Hilda Solis, who was running for Congress. She was challenging longtime Congressman Marty Martinez, who she believed did not represent the district with any enthusiasm or effectiveness. It was inspiring to watch her as a candidate and she won! I saw first hand how the pipeline of terrific, qualified leaders works, and I see it again today as Barack Obama's choice of one of California's finest public servants was confirmed by the Senate 80-17.

Hilda Solis's story, like President Obama's, is emblematic of the way America can and should work for gifted and hardworking public servants who come from humble beginnings. Solis, one of seven children of Mexican immigrant factory workers, who met in citizenship class here in Southern California, was the first of her family to attend college. From her start as an intern in the Carter Administration through her rise to the cabinet, her dedication and diligence were always informed by the drive to make better lives for working families like the one she came from.

And her story is not just an example of the American dream at work, but also of little-d democratic ideals, and of the pipeline of leadership that produces our best in government. Secretary Solis demonstrated skill and effectiveness as a representative of her district in Eastern Los Angeles, honed through representing her constituents thoughtfully, loyally, and tirelessly as an Assemblywoman from 1993-1994, and as a State Senator for the following six years before winning her House seat. Secretary Solis's rise, far more incremental than meteoric, reminds us all why we need to elect women locally to keep the pipeline of Democratic women leadership producing more women like her.

Congratulations Hilda Solis!