Via The Hill:
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is resigning from the Obama administration, the White House announced Wednesday.
In a statement, President Obama thanked Solis “for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people.”
“Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class,” Obama said. “Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work.”
Solis was a four-term congresswoman representing southern California, and was the first Hispanic woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet.
Solis becomes the fifth member of the Cabinet to announce that she intends to leave, joining Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and EPA Director Lisa Jackson.
Her resignation will likely intensify pressure on the White House to consider diversity in the remainder of their Cabinet appointments. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the president’s record on diversity, arguing “women are well represented in the president’s senior staff here.”
“The president believes that diversity is important because having diversity increases the excellence of the pool of advisers around you, pool of the staff that you have here,” Carney said. “And I think that’s been demonstrated by the — the kinds of — you know, the degree of talent that he has around him now and has had … around him in the first term. And I think it will be true in the second term.”
A White House source confirmed at least one of the women in Obama’s cabinet — HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — would be returning for the president’s second term. Attorney General Eric Holder, an African American, and Japanese-American Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki will also be returning.
It’s not clear who the White House will look at to replace Solis, but one possibility is Maria Echaveste, the deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton. The appointment of AFL-CIO executive vice president Arlene Holt Baker could also be considered as a nod to organized labor.