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Obama's Labor pick a green-jobs advocate

Barack Obama has tapped Rep. Hilda Solis, a California Democrat, to head the Department of Labor, a sign that creating green jobs will be a top priority in his administration's labor policies.

By Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor / December 22, 2008

Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., President-elect Barack Obama's designate as Labor Secretary, listens as she is introduced at a news conference in Chicago Friday.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

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Barack Obama has tapped Rep. Hilda Solis, a California Democrat, to head the Department of Labor, a sign that creating green jobs will be a top priority in his administration's labor policies.

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In a press release on her website announcing her acceptance of the nomination, Rep. Solis emphasized her support for labor groups and environmentalists:

“I look forward to working with President-elect Obama to reinvest in workforce training, build effective pipelines to provide at-risk youth and underserved communities with sustainable skills, and support high-growth industries by training the workers they need.
“This includes promoting green collar jobs.
“These are jobs that will provide economic security for working families while securing our energy supply and combating climate change.

Solis, a daughter of Nicaraguan and Mexican immigrants, authored the Green Jobs Act of 2007, which was intended to secure up to $125 million in funding for federal and state green job training programs, including a special provision for job training in poor communities. The bill was folded into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was signed into law in December 2007.

Those calling for the government to support an environmentally sustainable economy are cheering Obama's choice. Phil Angelides, the chair of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental advocates calling for a "clean energy revolution," called her "a visionary leader who understands that economic security for our families goes hand in hand with energy and national security":

“As President-elect Obama and Congress contemplate big new investments to address the nation’s energy and economic crises, there is no better person to ensure that our nation invests in good jobs while investing in clean energy.

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