Thursday, December 18, 2008

Solis named new U.S. labor secretary

President-elect Barack Obama will name California Democratic Rep. Hilda Solis as his labor secretary, adding a Hispanic woman to his Cabinet, a Democratic official said Thursday.

The official announcement will be made on Friday, in Chicago.

Solis was first elected to Congress in 2000 and represents parts of East Los Angeles, including a large portion of the Hispanic community.

“Hilda Solis is a very strong champion of working families and will be an outstanding Secretary of Labor,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller. “Her record in the California legislature as a leader on labor issues and her excellent work in Congress on behalf our of nation’s working men and women will restore the Department of Labor as an advocate for hard-working Americans. I look forward to working with her and the Obama administration to move the country forward on expanding health care, improving worker safety, strengthening retirement security and rebuilding our middle class.”

In 2007, Solis co-introduced the Green Jobs Act of 2007 (H.R. 2847), along with John Tierney (D-MA). The act authorized up to $125 million in funding to establish national and state job training programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, to help address job shortages that are impairing growth in green industries, such as energy efficient buildings and construction, renewable electric power, energy efficient vehicles, and biofuels development.

The Workforce Alliance hails the nomination of Solis. This comes from their new release about the Solis nomination:

“Congresswoman Solis has been a champion for giving every American the chance to share in the prosperity of the 21st-century economy, including training people for good-paying jobs in emerging green industries,” said Andy Van Kleunen, the Alliance’s Executive Director. “During this time of economic challenge, we look forward to working with her in her new post at the Department of Labor to rebuild the American economy by investing in the American people.”

This appointment could very well be the centerpiece of the new administration’s thrust to stimulate the national (as well as Maine’s) economy through the creation of middle-class jobs in a green energy sector, through an investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

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