Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is the latest top Cabinet official to announce her resignation before President Obama's second term begins. (Joshua Roberts / Getty Images)
Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis is joining the ranks of top Cabinet officials leaving as President Obama begins a second term.
“After much discussion with family and close friends, 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,” Solis, a former Democratic member of Congress from California, said in a Wednesday letter to department employees. She did not specify what her next move is; a spokesman said that her exact departure date has not been determined.
In a statement, Obama hailed Solis as “a tireless champion for working families” whose efforts had helped protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. He did not name a potential replacement.
Besides Solis, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are leaving. Obama has selected former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to head the Pentagon and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to replace Clinton; he is expected Thursday to name Jack Lew, his current chief of staff, as his choice to run Treasury.
In Wednesday’s letter, Solis said she was “humbled” by the commitment of Labor Department employees to doing their jobs overseeing programs affecting worker compensation, training and safety. Among other accomplishments during her four-year tenure, she singled out the department’s work in implementing its part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and in ensuring that businesses pay employees what they are owed.
“Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made because I have taken our mission to heart,” she wrote.