California's Solis Obama's pick for Labor

Dec. 19, 2008 at 4:41 PM

CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis, California's first female Hispanic state senator, was named Friday as President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Labor Department.

Saying the U.S. Department of Labor hasn't lived up to its role as an advocate for workers or an arbiter of fairness in labor issues for eight years, Obama said Solis' leadership would mean the department "will once again stand up for working families."

"I'm confident about that because Hilda has always been an advocate for everyday people," Obama said during a news conference in Chicago.

Solis was elected to Congress in 2000, and sits on the House Energy and Commerce committee, the Natural Resources committee, the select committee on energy independence and global warming, and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Solis said if her nomination is approved by the Senate, "I'll work to strengthen our unions and support every American in our nation's diverse workforce."

She also would work to reinvest in workforce training, enforcing federal labor laws and strengthening regulations to protect workers.

"Through these and other efforts," Solis said, "We can help strengthen one of America's greatest assets -- its labor force."

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