Hilda L. Solis (Summary)
Hilda L. Solis was appointed by the Obama Administration as Chairperson of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Feb. 2009. The appointment was welcomed by SEIU boss Andy Stern, American Rights at Work Chairperson David Bonior and AFL-CIO president, John Sweeney along with other prominent names in the labor movement. At the time, Sweeny commented that he was "thrilled at the prospect of having Solis as [the] nation's next Labor Secretary", adding that the AFL-CIO was looking forward to working with Solis as she chartered new territory for the nation's working class. Democratic Socialists of America vice-chair, Harold Meyerson, commented that the former treasurer of union-support organization, American Rights at Work was now in the key position to promote what he termed as the "most contentious issue on Obama’s agenda", - the Employee Free Choice Act. He added, "But Solis has never been deterred by controversy". Earlier, in August 2008, the Obama Campaign had formed its National Latino Advisory Council of which Solis was a member. A Latino herself, Solis commented that, "Senator Obama not only understands the struggles and diversity of our community but because of his personal history and background he will stand with us and be a fighter for our issues".
Solis has a strong working relationship with socialist individuals and groups. In 2005, Solis was the keynote speaker at the Democratic Socialists of America National Conference, speaking alongside ACORN chief organizer, Wade Rathke, Peter Dreier and other leading socialists. In 2006, Dreier wrote about Los Angeles in the DSA's newsletter Democratic Left, "It’s a network of activists that work closely with elected officials, like Congresswoman Hilda Solis..." In June, 2008, Solis sent Elena Henry, a caseworker from her office to represent her at the Socialist International Conference. Solis also has ties to the Communist Party. In June 1996 she was represented by staffer Antonio Aguilar at a tribute event for unionists Jerry Acosta and Gil Cedillo. The event was hosted by the party's paper, People's Weekly World. And in 2000, Solis enjoyed backing from the party for her run for U.S. Congress. Further following her work with communists, the William C. Velásquez Institute sponsored Solis to visit Cuba in 2001, for "unspecified purposes". She traveled in Cuba again in 2006 with a delegation of nine other congressman including Bill Delahunt, meeting with communist officials. Solis has stated that she receives inspiration from Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers and Dolores Huerta of both UFW and DSA. (more...)