Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigns

(Carolyn Kaster/AP) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis submitted her resignation to President Obama Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the former four-term California congresswoman said she will likely make a run for L.A. County supervisor, a post that next opens in 2014. 

“As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve,” Solis said in a memo to colleagues. (See her memo in its entirety at the bottom of this blog item).

During the departing secretary’s tenure, the Labor Department administered more than $67 billion in unemployment insurance benefits as the economy slowly recovered from a severe economic downturn that started near the end of the George W. Bush administration. 

“With ingenuity and integrity we ensured that these monies were carefully targeted to maximize job creation so that working people received the help they needed and deserved,” Solis wrote to her colleagues. 

One of Solis’ first actions as head of the Labor Department was to hire 250 additional inspectors for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which ended up levying a record fine on oil-giant BP for safety infractions during her time as agency chief.

The White House in a statement Wednesday described Solis as “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,” the president said in the White House statement. 

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka also issued positive remarks Wednesday about the exiting department head.

“Secretary Solis’s Department of Labor talks tough and acts tough on enforcement, workplace safety, wage and hour violations and so many other vital services,” Trumka said. “Secretary Solis never lost sight of her own working-class roots, and she always put the values of working families at the center of everything she did.

For more federal news from The Washington Post, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page,and PostPolitics.

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Josh Hicks · January 9, 2013