Skip to page content
Office of the Secretary
Bookmark and Share

Meet Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. SolisSecretary Hilda L. Solis was confirmed as Secretary of Labor on February 24, 2009. Prior to confirmation as Secretary of Labor, Secretary Solis represented the 32nd Congressional District in California, a position she held from 2001 – 2009.

In the Congress, Solis’ priorities included expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the environment, and improving the lives of working families. A recognized leader on clean energy jobs, she authored the Green Jobs Act which provided funding for “green” collar job training for veterans, displaced workers, at risk youth, and individuals in families under 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

In 2007, Solis was appointed to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission), as well as the Mexico — United States Interparliamentary Group. In June 2007, Solis was elected Vice Chair of the Helsinki Commission's General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. She was the only U.S. elected official to serve on this Committee.

A nationally recognized leader on the environment, Solis became the first woman to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2000 for her pioneering work on environmental justice issues. Her California environmental justice legislation, enacted in 1999, was the first of its kind in the nation to become law.

Solis was first elected to public office in 1985 as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees. She served in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1994, and in 1994 made history by becoming the first Latina elected to the California State Senate. As the chairwoman of the California Senate Industrial Relations Committee, she led the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996. She also authored a record seventeen state laws aimed at combating domestic violence.

Solis graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California. A former federal employee, she worked in the Carter White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and was later appointed as a management analyst with the Office of Management and Budget in the Civil Rights Division.

She was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Secretary of Labor on January 20, 2009.

Biography en Español

Secretary Solis in Action

Photos of the Secretary:

  • Secretary Solis on Workers Memorial Day at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. (April 2009)
  • Secretary Solis at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, West Virginia. (August 2009)
  • Secretary Solis underscores safety and green jobs in construction along with Energy Sec. Chu and Education Sec. Duncan for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Washington, D.C. (August 2009)
  • Secretary Solis delivers Labor Day speech at the Union League Club of Chicago. (September 2009)
  • Secretary Solis hosts First Lady Michelle Obama at the Department of Labor's child care cente.r (January 2010)
  • Secretary Solis testifies before the House Education and Labor Committee on the department's priorities. (February 2010)
  • Secretary Solis and MSHA Administrator Joe Main brief President Obama in the Oval Office on the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster in West Virginia. (April 2010)
  • Secretary Solis hosts first-ever meeting of G20 Labor and Employment Ministers to focus on creating quality jobs and a global economic recovery. (April 2010)
  • Secretary Solis communicates with stakeholders and the public during a Department of Labor Web chat. (April 2010)
  • Secretary Solis observes operations along the Louisiana coast during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup. (June 2010)
  • Secretary Solis tours Chrysler's Toledo, Ohio, Jeep Assembly Complex. (February 2011)
  • Secretary Solis marches in New York City on the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. (March 2011)
  • Secretary Solis kicks off OSHA's campaign to protect workers from heat stress. (April 2011)
  • Secretary Solis at airport welcoming troops home. (August 2011)
  • Secretary Solis in Glen Burnie, Maryland, with Mei Xu, owner of Chesapeake Bay Candle Company. (January 2012)
  • Secretary Solis meets with workers at General Motor's hybrid components plant in White Marsh, Maryland. (February 2012)
  • Secretary Solis in Harriman, Tennessee, on the Community College to Career bus tour. (February 2012)
  • Secretary Solis, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden at the Davidson Community College in Thomasville, North Carolina. (February 2012)
  • Secretary Solis with Treasury Secretary Geithner on the Social Security and Medicare Trustees report. (April 2012)
  • Secretary Solis arrives in Tampa, Florida, with President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. (April 2012)


For more information about the Secretary, contact:

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-6000

E-mail Secretary Solis at