As the Obama administration hunkers down for its second term, the Cabinet reassignments continue, and there was a surprise twist in the process today: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has offered her resignation to President Obama.
In a letter to employees at the department, Solis said she submitted her resignation to President Obama Wednesday afternoon. After reflecting on her future with friends and family in California over the holidays, Solis said she “decided to begin a new future, and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life.”
“Together we have achieved extraordinary things and I am so proud of our work on behalf of the nation’s working families,” she said. “Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because I have taken our mission to heart.”
In a statement, President Obama thanked the former Southern California congresswoman for her long career in public service, calling her a “tireless champion for working families.”
Solis’ departure comes amid a reshuffling of Obama’s senior staff and Cabinet as he is set to start his second term. The timing of Solis’ departure was a bit of a surprise, however.
Solis was one of five female Cabinet secretaries, and one of two Latinos, along with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Three other women hold Cabinet-level positions, including the departing EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson.
In considering her replacement, diversity could very well play a factor. The administration has come under fire in recent days for its slew of old-white-men nominees and clearly has taken note, given a somewhat defensive tweet featuring a photo of President Obama and a handful of advisors both male and female in the Oval Office.
Thus, it's reasonable to assume that this Cabinet post may go to a "diverse" candidate, and one horrifying suggestion this writer saw today was none other than Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor and Current TV host. Given that the Labor Secretary is a relatively secondary post (unlike State, Defense, or Treasury, which deal with more immediate matters), it's not unreasonable to suggest that it could go to someone who could boost the diversity stats at the expense of competency. Time will tell...
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