Rep. Hilda Solis (D-IL) was tapped as the Labor Secretary by President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday.
Solis, the daughter of Mexican and Nicaraguan immigrants, has been the only member of Congress of Central American descent. She recently won the election for her fifth term as the representative of California's 32nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Los Angeles and East Los Angeles.
Solis was the first Hispanic woman to ever serve in California's state Senate when she was elected in 1994. She served until 2001. During her tenure in the senate, she won the battle to increase the state's minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.75 an hour in 1996.
Solis earned her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona and then earned a master's degree at University of Southern California. She served in the Carter White House in the Office of Hispanic Affairs and later became an analyst with the Office of Management and Budget before moving to the California state Senate.
Solis' appointment comes hours after Obama appointed Mary Schapiro the head of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and one day after appointing Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) as the Transportation Secretary.
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