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Hilda Solis may be eyeing run for Board of Supervisors

January 10, 2013 |  9:54 am

 U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said that she plans to resign. Credit: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

With Hilda L. Solis stepping down as President Obama's secretary of Labor, some say her resignation may pave the way for the onetime Los Angeles-area congresswoman to run for the county Board of Supervisors.

In a letter Wednesday to Labor Department employees, Solis, 55, said that after spending time with family over the holidays, she had decided to "begin a new future, and return to the people and places" she loves.

Supervisor Gloria Molina will be forced from office next year by term limits. Her seat has historic import for local Latinos: Molina's election in 1991 came after balloting ordered by a federal judge who ruled that the all-white board at the time had diluted the voting power of Latinos by splitting the community among three districts. Molina was the first Latino elected to the board in modern times and was its first elected female member.

Before joining Obama's Cabinet, Solis was a member of Congress and a California legislator, serving eight years in each position.

After Solis' announcement, Los Angeles labor leader Maria Elena Durazo said Wednesday that she would vigorously encourage her to run for the board.

"She has been a champion for workers and has never been afraid of speaking out for workers, especially on health and safety and wage issues," said Durazo, the powerful executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Durazo said she believes that if Solis runs for Molina's seat, the county's labor leaders will quickly fall in line behind her, which could chase other candidates from the field.

For many Latinos in Los Angeles, Durazo said, it will be important to retain the seat. Solis has discussed a run with a number of political allies.

"There's so many things that the Board of Supervisors have yet to accomplish, and I think ... she will do a magnificent job," Durazo said. "Who knows — after that there's a U.S. Senate seat, there's statewide office. I think the door is wide open for her."

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-- Maeve Reston and Alana Semuels

Credit: U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said that she plans to resign. Credit: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

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