Labor secretary resigns

Isaac Brekken/AP

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigned Wednesday, in a move that surprised many Washington observers who expected her to stay on during President Obama’s second administration.

Obama issued a statement on her resignation, and her tenure as head of Labor since 2009. “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,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”

It’s not clear what Solis’ plans are after leaving the department. A former Democratic representative from California, Solis has served in Congress and in the state legislature, and has spent much of her career in public service. During the Carter administration, she worked in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs and also served in the Office of Management and Budget’s Civil Rights Division as a management analyst.

Solis was expected by many to stay in her post for at least part of Obama’s second term. Political observers and others have commented on the lack of diversity in the president’s second-term Cabinet picks so far. Solis’ departure could turn up the volume on that discussion.

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