Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is leaving her position in President Barack Obama’s cabinet, the Associated Press reports. Solis’ departure will make her the fifth member of the administration to leave the cabinet since the election.
The White House confirmed Solis’ resignation with the following statement:
Over her long career in public service — as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor — Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families. Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Solis’ resignation comes at a time when the Obama administration is receiving criticism for appointing less women to his second-term cabinet.
I’m told that Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will step aside soon, making her the fifth member of the administration to leave the cabinet (or announce her deparature) since the election. Only two of these departures – Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner – are white and male. Lisa Jackson, who’s leaving the EPA, is African-American, and Solis was the first Hispanic woman to take charge of Labor.
From the White House down the ranks, the Obama administration has compiled a broad appointment record that has significantly exceeded the Bush administration in appointing women but has done no better than the Clinton administration, according to an analysis of personnel data by The New York Times. About 43 percent of Mr. Obama’s appointees have been women, about the same proportion as in the Clinton administration, but up from the roughly one-third appointed by George W. Bush.
The New York Times pointed out last month that while it has been 15 years since a white man served as secretary of state or secretary of labor, other positions of power have only gone to men.
Yet no woman or minority member has ever led the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Treasury Department. The White House chief of staff has also always been a white man.
Solis’ resignation is published in its entirety below.