Tag Archives: Hilda Solis

CA-32: I’m Proud To Be Running For Congress

(The news peg here is that Dr. Chu vows to join the Progressive Caucus.  Please welcome her to Calitics. – promoted by David Dayen)

It was December 18th when I first heard the news that President-elect Obama had chosen Hilda Solis as his nominee for Secretary of Labor. I was so thrilled because Hilda Solis is a person of such integrity, a true progressive champion who has left an amazing legacy as my representative in the 32nd district of California. After the initial excitement I felt upon hearing the news, it occurred to me: the congressional seat would be open; this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to help President Obama bring change to America and to continue the work Hilda Solis began in CA-32. I knew I had to run for this seat.

I have represented parts of the 32nd congressional district since 1985 when I was elected to the Garvey School Board in Rosemead. Having gained notoriety fighting an English only ordinance in Monterey Park — and winning that fight — I was elected to the Monterey Park City Council in 1988 and served three terms as Mayor. In 2001 I was elected to the state Assembly and was proud to win a seat on the California Board of Equalization in 2006 where I currently serve as Vice-Chair. The 32nd district has been my home for 24 years and I have voted for Hilda Solis as my representative ever since she first won the seat in 2000. Now, in 2009, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to succeed her and carry on her fight for progressive values in Washington.

Hilda and I actually go back 20 years when we worked together on a re-districting initiative that brought both the Asian-American and Latino communities together. Too often our communities are at odds but our re-districting fight proved that all of our interests could be served if we work together. Our friendship and partnership continued for years and in 2001, as I ran a difficult race for the California Assembly, it was Hilda Solis’s endorsement that put me over the top. Now in 2009, as a member of the administration, Hilda must stay out of the political fray, but I am proud and humbled to have the support of the Solis family to continue the fight that Hilda started in Congress. If I am lucky enough to be sent to Washington by the voters of CD 32, I intend to follow Hilda’s example by joining the progressive caucus and fighting for workers who have been under assault for the past decade.

I have been a fierce advocate for workers throughout my career. I’ve been a proud member of the American Federation of Teachers for 20 years; as Mayor of Monterey Park, I supported SEIU 535 in their efforts to organize nurses at Garfield Hospital and joined with the Teamsters to fight the expansion of WalMart; in the Assembly I sponsored AB 805, the Heat Illness Standards bill that provides minimal standards to protect workers from excessive heat on the job, such as shade, water and rest breaks; and as a member of the US Congress I will be proud to add my name to the list of co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act. President Obama supports it because he knows that empowering workers to unionize is key to rebuilding the middle class and I agree. My fight for workers has won me a 100% lifetime voting record from the California Federation of Labor and I’m proud to have received the endorsement of the L.A. County Federation of Labor and the Service Employees International Union in addition to several locals including the Amalgamated Transit Union California Conference Board, Teamsters Joint Council 42 and Teamsters Local 911.

I hope you’ll join my campaign as well.

Please visit JudyChu.net, sign up to be a volunteer and donate what you can to our campaign to carry on Hilda Solis’s legacy. The primary is on May 19th; this is going to be a quick campaign but I know will be a tough one and I’d appreciate your support.  

The Rise Of Van Jones – California Loses Another Leader

It’s great news that Van Jones has been tapped for a high-level job in the Obama Administration, as a special adviser for green jobs.  Having his voice at the Presidential level is bound to be valuable, and great for at-risk communities who will not be forgotten with Jones as their defender.  At the same time, I have to agree with the first comment in this Grist story.

If it is more than a rumor, then Van faces some decisions that would keep me awake at night. Would he be more effective where he is, or on the insde of the administration??? How much power would he really have?? Could he go along with the administration the next time it starts talking about “clean coal?”

Indeed, he might have to make that determination almost immediately.  Because the FutureGen project, a “clean coal” research facility in Illinois, is likely to be funded with stimulus money in the short term.  This is just research, of course, and even Energy Secretary Steven Chu supports it “with modifications.”  But the fact is that clean coal technology hasn’t worked and offers a false sense of hope that we can just keep burning dirty fuels and not get dirty ourselves.  It would be nice to have Van Jones’ perspective on this, but he’s embedded inside the Administration now.

Leadership is self-generating, but leadership like Van Jones’ comes around only once in a long while.  We have a lot of battles in California over green jobs and alternative energy that could have used a strident voice like Jones’.  There’s an effort to triple our commitment to clean energy through a renewable portfolio standard.  The Senate leader’s top priority is career tech education with an eye to green jobs and the new economy.  Perhaps Jones’ departure means that new leaders will take hold of these issues and push them forward.  But perhaps not.  It leaves a big hole.

I congratulate him as I’ve congratulated other Californians who have moved to Washington.  But it’s interesting, from my perspective, that the two individuals most likely to be able to drive a movement politics in the Golden State – Hilda Solis and Van Jones – have packed up and joined the Obama Administration.  I can’t say I blame them, this state is a basket case.  And their talents will be used well.

Congratulations Hilda Solis!

(cross-posted at Daily Kos)

Congratulations to Congresswoman Hilda Solis who was confirmed as Secretary of Labor this afternoon!

Secretary Hilda Solis is one of the reasons that I founded the CALIFORNIA List. I was working for EMILY’s List and met then Califoria State Senator Hilda Solis, who was running for Congress. She was challenging longtime Congressman Marty Martinez, who she believed did not represent the district with any enthusiasm or effectiveness. It was inspiring to watch her as a candidate and she won!  I saw first hand how the pipeline of terrific, qualified leaders works, and I see it again today as Barack Obama’s choice of one of California’s finest public servants was confirmed by the Senate 80-17.

Hilda Solis’s story, like President Obama’s, is emblematic of the way America can and should work for gifted and hardworking public servants who come from humble beginnings. Solis, one of seven children of Mexican immigrant factory workers who met in citizenship class here in Southern California, was the first of her family to attend college. From her start as an intern in the Carter Administration through her rise to the cabinet, her dedication and diligence were always informed by the drive to make better lives for working families like the one she came from.

And her story is not just an example of the American dream at work, but also of little-d democratic ideals, and of the pipeline of leadership that produces our best in government. Secretary Solis demonstrated skill and effectiveness as a representative of her district in Eastern Los Angeles, honed through representing her constituents thoughtfully, loyally, and tirelessly as an Assemblywoman from 1993-1994, and as a State Senator for the following six years before winning her House seat. Secretary Solis’s rise, far more incremental than meteoric, reminds us all why we need to elect women locally to keep the pipeline of Democratic women leadership producing more women like her.

Congratulations Hilda Solis!

Hilda Solis Confirmed As Labor Secretary – Race for CA-32 Begins

Minutes ago, the US Senate confirmed Hilda Solis by an 80-17 vote to be the Secretary of Labor.  This is a big victory for progressives to fight conservative obstructionism and get a real friend to the labor movement in a top position in Barack Obama’s cabinet.  It was an unnecessarily long fight, but this is a great resolution.  In addition, with Solis having authored the Green Jobs Act, she will undoubtedly be a force for making sure jobs in the alternative energy sector are good union jobs that pay a living wage.

This also means that there will shortly, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, be a vacancy in the 32nd District seat.  There are three main candidates for the seat thus far, all of whom have already begun campaigning.

Judy Chu is currently on the Board of Equalization.  While a Chinese-American running for a seat that is majority Latino, Chu has the support of the California Federation of Labor, which typically cleans up in these kinds of special elections.  That alone makes her the favorite IMO.

Gil Cedillo is a State Senator in the adjoining district, and so he represents very few of these constituents.  He has been strong on issues around immigration in particular, and will certainly be formidable in this race.

Emanuel Pleitez worked in the Obama transition team on the Treasury Department.  The fact that Treasury has practically no senior officers staffing it save for Tim Geithner, over a month after the inauguration, doesn’t really speak well to Pleitez’ transition capabilities.  But he apparently has the most robust campaign apparatus in the district thus far (with 17 volunteer full-time staff members), and he was born and raised in the district.

We invite every single one of them to interact with us on Calitics.

The most likely scenario is that either the primary or the general election gets folded into the May 19 special election.  Gov. Schwarzenegger has 14 calendar days to set the schedule.

Solis Approved In Committee – Goes To The Full Senate

It was a long struggle with a somewhat anti-climactic resolution, but Hilda Solis was approved by the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) on a voice vote.  Today over 20,000 petition signatures were delivered to the leaders of the HELP Committee by SEIU, UFW, UFCW, Change to Win and the Courage Campaign, and those voices were heard.

Now the confirmation moves to the full Senate for a vote, where it will hopefully be approved in short order.  Sometimes we win one.

Solis Update

Politico reports that the recent tax issues surrounding Hilda Solis’ husband won’t derail her nomination for Labor Secretary, but they’re still going to obstruct:

Key Republican senators on the committee vetting the California Democrat’s nomination say they won’t blame her for the problems facing her husband, Sam Sayyad, who paid around $6,400 last week to settle tax liens against his auto-repair company.

But they are still exploring the congresswoman’s ties to a pro-union organization, and a vote on her nomination has yet to be scheduled […]

Solis has angered some Republicans’ on the panel for deflecting questions on her positions over controversial “card-check” legislation, which would make it easier for workers to unionize, and for whether she supports maintaining right-to-work laws that prohibit forcing workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Those issues, however, are not enough to drag down her nomination and Republicans are unlikely to block the nomination, according to aides and senators.

Still, there is one last issue that could influence the HELP committee’s upcoming vote. The committee is waiting for additional information about her role as an unpaid board member and treasurer for the pro-union group American Rights at Work, while she was a member of the House.

Isakson said they are reviewing whether her role in an organization lobbying Congress violated campaign finance rules, “which I think would just come back to hurt her if we didn’t get that out and cleared out one way or another.”

These are just a series of stall tactics to drag this confirmation out.  Solis’ involvement with American Rights At Work has been gone over plenty of times.  It is a red herring.  Hilda Solis needs to be confirmed now.  Sign the petition.

Standing Up For Hilda Solis

I work for the Courage Campaign

The stimulus plan isn’t the only thing Republicans are obstructing. Hilda Solis, still the representative from CA-32, was nominated as Secretary of Labor by President Obama on December 19. It’s been nearly two months and her nomination still hasn’t moved out of the Senate HELP committee.

Republicans, led by Mike Enzi of Wyoming, are trying to stop Hilda Solis because of her support of workers’ rights, including – but not limited to – the Employee Free Choice Act. They even want her to promise to not lobby on behalf of Employee Free Choice as a condition of confirmation – which she has so far refused to do.

A hearing was finally to have been held in committee on her nomination last week but news of a tax problem her husband had – which has since been resolved – caused yet another delay, and conservatives are hoping to use the delays to kill one of Obama’s most progressive nominees entirely.

It’s time for Californians to stand up for Hilda Solis.

She’s been there for us in the past. Last summer when Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to slash the wages of over 200,000 state workers to the minimum wage, Solis joined our successful grassroots effort to block that move. Now that she is poised to bring significant progressive change to an important part of the federal government, it’s vital that California progressives show that we have her back.

The Courage Campaign is asking its members to show their support for Hilda Solis by asking them to sign a letter to Senator Ted Kennedy, chair of the Senate HELP committee, encouraging him to lead the fight against conservative resistance and for Hilda Solis’s confirmation.

In doing so we join our allies at SEIU and MoveOn.org who have also pushed out their own kinds of support Solis actions in recent days. There’s also a Facebook group to join as well.

Why a letter to Senator Kennedy? We’re not at all worried that he isn’t supportive of the nomination or that he’s unwilling to move quickly to get it done. What we want to do instead is demonstrate to key Senators just how wide and deep public support for Hilda Solis truly is. To reinforce the case for her confirmation, and to help Kennedy and other Democrats beat back the conservative attack on a true progressive hero.

So sign the letter here and show your support for Hilda Solis!

Over the flip is the email we sent to our members and the letter we’re asking folks to sign:

Dear Robert,

Hilda Solis has consistently stood up for Californians. And now, as she faces a tough confirmation battle to become Secretary of Labor, it’s time for progressives to take a stand for her.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to cut the salaries of state employees to the minimum wage, Hilda Solis stood with tens of thousands of Courage Campaign members who successfully forced the Governor to back down.

All her life, Solis has stood up for the values we all share — democracy, justice, and prosperity. As one of Barack Obama’s most progressive Cabinet picks she is poised to bring much-needed change to not only the Department of Labor, but to American politics as a whole.

But now, Hilda Solis needs our help. Senate Republicans, led by Mike Enzi of Wyoming, have declared all-out war on our progressive hero. They are determined to kill her nomination so they can stop the momentum of President Obama and the labor movement.

We cannot let them succeed. It’s time for progressives to rally together to stop the right-wing campaign to deny her appointment. Please sign our letter to Senator Ted Kennedy, chair of the Senate Labor Committee, asking him to lead the confirmation of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor:


Conservatives want to destroy her nomination because they do not like President Obama’s policies, the ones Hilda Solis holds so dear. The same policies and values that are Senator Kennedy’s legacy.

If Solis is not confirmed then conservatives will be emboldened to attack other progressives and their causes.

We must draw the line here.

Please join us in asking Senator Kennedy once again to lead progressives and fight for Hilda Solis. Sign our letter to Senator Kennedy and join him in standing up to the right-wing campaign to deny Americans the change they voted for in November:


Thank you for standing up and supporting one of California’s progressive heroes.

Rick Jacobs


And the letter to Senator Kennedy:

   Senator Ted Kennedy,

   As one of the greatest champions for progress in America, we once again need your leadership as the right-wing seeks to make an example of another champion, Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis.

   They want to destroy her chances of confirmation as President Obama’s Secretary of Labor because they do not like his policies. These are policies Hilda Solis shares — democracy, justice, prosperity. They are the same policies that you have spent your life promoting.

   Congresswoman Solis has always stood for the people and for progress. Her efforts on behalf of the rights of women, the working class, the poor, and of environmental justice show that Congresswoman Solis is a leader America needs in these tough times. She will bring these values to the Department of Labor, where after eight years of George W. Bush’s misrule, those values are desperately needed.

   We know Hilda Solis because we are her neighbors and friends and constituents here in California. By nominating Hilda Solis, President Obama chose a person dedicated to crafting bipartisan solutions to rebuild our middle class and ensure workers’ rights are protected. Hers is the kind of smart, innovative leadership we need as we face the highest jobless rate in more than 16 years and record job losses of 3.6 million since the start of the recession in December 2007.

   The Republicans who are stalling Solis’ confirmation are the very same group who spent the last eight years putting the needs of big corporations over the needs of working Americans. It’s an insult to every Californian for the Republicans to hold up, postpone or otherwise delay her confirmation. We urge the Senate to quickly confirm Secretary-designate Solis so she can use her expertise to help us through these tough economic times.

   Senator Kennedy, please lead the confirmation of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor.

Labor Finally Goes To The Mattresses For Hilda Solis

After waiting and waiting, labor groups are finally demanding that Hilda Solis be confirmed as the Secretary of Labor.  Andy Stern of the SEIU made a short video:

Their action page has a petition.

And this is just the beginning:

“Enough is enough, the gloves are coming off on Friday,” said one official with the AFL-CIO, outraged over the delays. “Labor, women’s groups, Hispanic groups are opening fire. We worked with Republicans in good faith. Hilda Solis has answered all their questions but they continue to oppose her for partisan ideological reasons.”

With Solis’s nomination stalled again on Thursday after revelations that her husband had just settled $6,400 in tax leins against his business, unions are no longer willing to hold their breath for the sake of fewer dramatics.

“Our full efforts are being mobilized to fight back,” the union official said. “Earned media and field campaign to generate calls, letters, and emails coming tomorrow. Depending on how things move paid media will be added on top of these efforts.”

Good to see.  Progressive groups like MoveOn should get Hilda’s back, too.

UPDATE: Our old friend Hans von Spakovsky, vote suppressor extraordinaire, is writing anti-Solis screeds in places like The Weekly Standard.

UPDATE II: MoveOn jumps in with a letter to the editor tool.

Fabian Núñez For State Senate (SD-22)?

The former speaker of the Assembly hasn’t actually been gone all that long, and it was always anticipated that he would might make a run at the State Senate in 2010 (among other possibilities). Fabian Núñez has filed papers to run for the SD-22 seat currently held by Gil Cedillo – a seat that might open up even sooner if Cedillo wins a special election to replace Hilda Solis in the Congress:

This week, he filed paperwork to fill the seat of termed-out Sen. Gil Cedillo in 2010. Cedillo’s seat could be vacated even sooner, as the Los Angeles Democrat is running for Congress to replace Rep. Hilda Solis, who President Barack Obama has tapped as labor secretary.

Núñez would be a prohibitive favorite, should he run. His campaign treasury was stuffed with nearly $5 million as of the end of 2008.

The filing could also simply be a place to legally store all that campaign cash. Many former leaders keep accounts open for races in which few if anyone expects them to compete.

Although it’s possible Núñez is just parking the cash, this would seem like a sensible move for him to make. He’d have at least another 8 years in the Legislature, potentially longer if term limits reform ever gets implemented (and I hope it does). And I have to believe that Núñez would indeed be the favorite for the seat, given his profile as Speaker and his campaign warchest.

Still, Núñez would do well to build his campaign around a solution to our state’s ongoing budget mess. He was in the Big Five room for the last four years of negotiations, and should have as good an idea as anybody what could be improved in the system.

And he also has a responsibility to voters to explain how he would do better – Democrats failed to offer a clear alternative to the Republican tax cuts mantra while he was speaker, making it very difficult for Democrats and progressives in 2009 to mount a successful pushback against Republican demands. That’s not say this crisis is all his fault, but as one of the recent leaders in Sacramento, he would do well to give voters a clear sense of how he would use his experience to chart a different course in the Senate.

Solis Nomination Stalled Out Again, Over Husband’s Tax Issue

Hilda Solis’s confirmation in the Senate HELP Committee was abruptly cancelled today after a report surfaced about her husband paying $6,400 to remove a tax lien on his business.

The report, by USA Today, came just before the Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee was slated to meet to consider Solis’s nomination, which had been delayed by questions over her role on the board of the pro-labor organization American Rights at Work. A source said that committee members did not learn about the tax issue until today.

“Today’s executive session was postponed to allow members additional time to review the documentation submitted in support of Representative Solis’s nomination to serve in the important position of Labor Secretary,” read a joint statement issued by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the panel’s chairman, and Mike Enzi (Wyoming), the committee’s ranking Republican. “There are no holds on her nomination and members on both sides of the aisle remain committed to giving her nomination the fair and thorough consideration that she deserves. We will continue to work together to move this nomination forward as soon as possible.”

No new date has been set for the hearing. The disclosure about Solis’s husband comes after tax problems caused trouble for three of Obama’s top appointees, leading two of them — HHS-nominee Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, who was to be chief performance officer — to withdraw.

Senate Republicans have been slow-walking this nomination for weeks, and this revelation gave them another reason to do so.  To be clear, we’re talking about her husband’s business.  Given that she’s in Congress and is in Washington most of the time, I doubt very highly that she has anything to do with it.  In addition, by paying the taxes, Solis and her entire family are adhering to Obama’s ethical standards, not subverting them.

So this is the latest in a months-long obstructionism.  The LA Times reported today that some GOP members were trying to put a gag order on Solis:

Underscoring the bitter debate over a proposal to make it easier for workers to form unions, Republican senators are suggesting that President Obama’s pick for Labor secretary must recuse herself from lobbying for the bill’s passage.

In a written exchange with Solis, Republican senators indicated they are wary of her ties to a tax-exempt group dedicated to helping workers unionize […]

Solis’ Cabinet nomination is in the crossfire. She was a co-sponsor of the bill in 2007 and has served for the last four years on the board of American Rights at Work. Solis receives no salary as a board member or treasurer […]

In their questionnaire, the senators noted that American Rights at Work has lobbied for passage of the bill. They asked Solis whether she would seek a waiver from the Obama administration or avoid any role in passing the legislation.

Solis replied that she does not need a waiver and has no intention of stepping back. She said she was only a member of Congress exercising her powers.

“I am not a registered lobbyist, nor do I in any way meet the statutory requirements for registration as a lobbyist,” she wrote.

The American Rights at Work thing is a complete red herring.  She was a representative figure for those who supported Employee Free Choice in Congress.  She is not a lobbyist.  She supported a bill.  And so denying her free-speech rights seems ridiculous to the extreme.

I don’t know if a family member’s tax issue is enough to sink this nomination (like the last Labor Secretary’s spouse, one Mitch McConnell, has no ethical issues to speak of), but I for one think Solis should be confirmed.  And as for the Employee Free Choice Act, the battle for a fair workplace goes on.  Thousands of people are marching in the streets of Los Angeles today in support of free choice.