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Sec. Hilda Solis
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Secretary Hilda L. Solis was confirmed as Secretary of Labor on February 24, 2009. Prior to confirmation as Secretary of Labor, Secretary Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001 – 2009.

In the Congress, Solis’ priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the Green Jobs Act which provided funding for “green” collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

In 2007, Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico — United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She was the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee.

A nationally recognized leader on the environment, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.

Solis was first elected to public office in 1985 as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees. She served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994, and in 1994 made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. As the chairwoman of the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee, she led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. She also authored a record seventeen state laws aimed at combating domestic violence.

Solis graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. A former federal employee, she worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and was later appointed as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.

She was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Secretary of Labor on January 20, 2009.

Entries by Sec. Hilda Solis

Beginnings and Endings: My Journey of Public Service

(62) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 8:53 PM

The following article is a cross-post of a blog that first appeared on the U.S. Department of Labor's (Work in Progress) Blog:

It has been an honor to be your secretary of labor. Today, as I prepared to say farewell, I decided that I wanted to share my...

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El trabajador estadounidense contribuye a la grandeza del país

(0) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 7:11 PM

En el primer lunes de septiembre celebramos el trabajo de todos los hombres y mujeres que han construido la economía más grande del mundo. En este Día del Trabajo, cuando el Departamento de Trabajo esta próximo a la celebración de nuestro centenario, siento un orgullo especial por los...

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Labor Day 2012: Honoring the Great American Worker

(5) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 6:58 PM

On the first Monday of September, we honor the workers who built the world's strongest economy. This Labor Day, as the U.S. Department of Labor approaches our centennial celebration, I take extra pride in the historic efforts of today's workers to drive our recovery by learning new skills...

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Youth Employment Turning the Corner in 2012

(14) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 7:58 PM

As young Americans all across the country head back to a new school year, I'm excited to say that many more will take with them lessons learned through summer jobs.

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual report on youth employment. The numbers...

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Lupe Ontiveros: A Woman of Action

(9) Comments | Posted July 28, 2012 | 3:05 PM

2012-07-28-lupe.jpg Lupe Ontiveros' great talent extended far past television, stage and motion pictures. Indeed, she was a fine actress, but more than that, she was a woman of great action. And she was my friend for more than 20 years.

Growing up in...

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A Day to Dream

(19) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 12:08 PM

My parents raised me to believe in the American Dream.

They grew up in different countries--Mom in Nicaragua, Dad in Mexico--but they met and fell in love in an American citizenship class in southern California.

From this storybook beginning, they raised their seven children to believe that if you...

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RExO Grants: Reduce Recidivism and Build Lives

(6) Comments | Posted June 25, 2012 | 5:40 PM

Each year, juvenile courts in the United States handle roughly 1.6 million cases involving criminal allegations. And each year, an estimated 144,000 youth are placed in juvenile correctional facilities.

Many youth who spend time in the juvenile justice system struggle with low literacy levels, histories of home violence,...

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Community Colleges: On the Frontline of Education in America

(28) Comments | Posted February 23, 2012 | 3:50 PM

Community colleges are at the frontlines of education in America.

That's the message Dr. Jill Biden and I have been taking across the country this week on our "Community College to Careers" bus tour.

It's also a message that is especially important to the Latino community.

...
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It's Cold Outside... and I'm Thinking of Summer (Jobs)

(114) Comments | Posted January 5, 2012 | 2:23 PM

This week in Washington, we got our first taste of snow and sub-freezing temperatures of the New Year. As a California native, I admit my thoughts instinctively turned to the summer. I can't help it. It's in my DNA.

But I'm in good company because President Obama has been thinking...

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Universal Rights Extend to Alabama

(288) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 7:01 AM

In a widely noticed human rights speech this month in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton articulated U.S. policy on the fundamental rights of all people living in the world.

She said, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights ... rights are...

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Celebrating the Voice of Workers

(194) Comments | Posted November 9, 2011 | 3:19 PM

Last night, Ohio voters delivered a bona fide victory for public sector workers everywhere.

After months of advocacy and organizing, the people of Ohio have defeated a law that would have silenced the middle class and curtailed the collective bargaining rights of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers....

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Ten Years Later, Let's Pay It Forward

(25) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 7:35 PM

On Sunday, we will remember 9/11 as a wake up call to be vigilant in our efforts to protect the American homeland. Never again will we tolerate our security being threatened or let our guard down in the fight against terrorism.

We can never bring back the nearly 3,000 people...

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The Latino Factor

(71) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 12:41 PM

I spent Labor Day with President Obama in Detroit. As we looked ahead to his big speech on Thursday and discussed his plan to put all Americans back to work, he said to me:

"Hilda... as tough as things have been on Latino workers, I know our...

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Our Ladder of Opportunity

(181) Comments | Posted August 10, 2011 | 11:29 PM

You don't have to look very hard to notice the impact Latinos are having across all walks of American life.

We're leaders in politics, business, labor, culture and sports. We're on the Supreme Court, in the president's cabinet, in governors' mansions and in the leadership of Congress. We're CEOs of...

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At the Table

(524) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 12:45 AM

I was "raised union."

My mother, who immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua, worked the 3 p.m. to midnight shift at a toy factory after the birth of my younger twin sisters. She was a member of the United Rubber Workers, which later merged with the Steelworkers Union.

My...

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Big Things and the Workforce to Get Them Done

(70) Comments | Posted January 26, 2011 | 5:11 PM

Last night, as millions of Americans tuned in and logged on to follow the president's State of the Union address, I was honored to have a front row seat. Sitting there in the "people's chamber," surrounded by current and former colleagues -- as well as a few new faces --...

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Protecting Children and Workers Around the Globe

(59) Comments | Posted December 15, 2010 | 4:44 PM

This morning I had the honor of standing with Senator Tom Harkin, a tireless advocate for the elimination of child labor, as I announced the release of three Labor Department reports on child labor and/or forced labor around the world.

These reports shed light on the work that...

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Time to Make This DREAM a Reality

(201) Comments | Posted December 1, 2010 | 2:28 PM

Early in my career, I worked as a student advisor and higher education recruitment counselor. Many of the young people I worked with were undocumented, including a college-bound young man whose academic achievements and dedication to hard work made him a model student in everyone's eyes. He gave everything his...

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Continuing the Fight for Pay Equity

(150) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 1:50 PM

Earlier today, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on S. 3772 -- the Paycheck Fairness Act -- by a margin of 58-41.

I am deeply disappointed that the Senate did not pass this important piece of legislation, but the issue of pay equity is far too important to give up....

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A Mexico Diary: Leading the US Delegation for the Celebration of the Bicentennial of Mexico

(20) Comments | Posted September 16, 2010 | 5:40 PM

Secretary Solis in Mexico
Left to Right: Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, TX; Rigoberta Menchu , Nobel Peace Prize winner from Guatemala; Secretary Hilda Solis; Sam Sayyad; Actor Edward James Olmos

My Latino heritage has always been a...

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