A four-term congresswoman from California, Hilda Solis has been a strong, pro-labor voice in the House. Her nomination by President Obama to be the country's 25th Secretary of Labor has been widely praised by union rank-and-file and lambasted by many in the business community. She was confirmed to the post on February 24, 2009.
In the House, Solis, 51, served on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and on the Committee on Natural Resources; she vice-chaired the subcommittee on the Environment and Hazardous Materials. She has been a fierce critic of free trade agreements, and opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Solis was the only House member on the board of American Rights at Work, a nonprofit organization that supports legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize.
Solis served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994. In 1994, she became the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. In 2000, she received the Profiles in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for her work promoting environmental protections for minority communities. She has previously served in the White House in the Office of Hispanic Affairs during the Carter administration. Solis has an undergraduate degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a Master's of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.