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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

News Release

OPA News Release: [12/10/2012]
Contact Name: Jesse Lawder
Phone Number: (202) 693-4659
Release Number: 12-2433-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on death of James Hodgson

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the death of James Hodgson on Nov. 28, as reported by his family today:

"James Hodgson once said: 'I've never had any ambitions; only enthusiasms.'

"He was being modest, of course, since one of his 'enthusiasms' was worker health and safety. And as the nation's 12th secretary of labor, he leaves an extraordinary legacy in this area.

"Under his leadership, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Nixon. 'Safety was extremely important in aircraft plants,' the former Lockheed executive once said, 'but as I went around looking at other industries, I was just appalled at the conditions I saw.' Today, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration — the agency he envisioned and built — employs more than 2,200 people and strives to keep nearly 8 million U.S. workplaces safe and healthy through setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

"During his tenure, Secretary Hodgson also led a major expansion of employment and training programs to stem the post-Vietnam War recession through the Emergency Employment Act of 1971.

"He continued his public service on an international scale and with great distinction after leaving the Labor Department, serving as U.S. ambassador to Japan during the Ford administration. Later, he wrote two books about doing business with Japan. And he shared his terrific sense of humor in a published collection of satirical haiku.

"His wife Maria and their two children are in my thoughts and prayers."