The news that the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will be resigning from her post was met with surprise from supporters and analysts.
It raised more questions on what propelled this decision.
Solis explained in her resignation that over the holidays she reflected on the past and future. After discussing with her family, she said she wanted to return to the people and places that she “loves” and “inspires” her.
“This afternoon, I submitted my resignation to President Obama. Growing up in a large Mexican-American family in La Puente, California, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to serve in a president’s Cabinet, let alone in the service of such an incredible leader,” Solis said in her statement.
“I have decided to begin a new future, and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life.”
Hilda Solis’ resignation means one less Latina on the Obama administration’s cabinet, which also raises some eyebrows on Obama’s commitment to diversity in this year’s administration particularly with women and Hispanics.
“This doesn’t really—it’s not going in the right direction,” said Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP), while referring to having more Latinos represented in the administration.
“I think everybody kind of assumed that she was going to be staying on, at least for a little while longer—it seems kind of abrupt.”
Solis was raised in La Puente, California by both parents who left their native countries in Nicaragua and Mexico. Solis also became the first woman to serve in the state senate and later defeated a long-time Democratic incumbent to gain a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and now is the first woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet.
In one of her recent appearances, Solis gave remarks on the need for Latinas to “break barriers” at the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s annual gala. Those who knew her said she was a strong role model.
“We were expecting some changes were going to be happening in the Cabinet, but it’s really unfortunate to be losing a great leader,” said Liz Lopez, a Democratic strategist. “Secretary Solis has been particularly one of the top Latinas we’ve had in president Obama’s cabinet.”
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