Hilda Solis was vague about her future when she issued a statement announcing her resignation as President Obama’s labor secretary Wednesday.
"After much discussion with family and close friends, I have decided to begin a new future, and return to the people and places I love and that have inspired and shaped my life,” Solis said.
For some time, various politicos have suggested she might run for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina’s First District seat. Molina is termed out next year.
Solis has deep roots in the communities east of downtown L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley that make up the First District. She got her political start serving on the Rio Hondo School Board and went on to represent parts of the area in the state assembly, state senate and Congress. She has excellent name recognition and no doubt an extensive fundraising network.
“She becomes the automatic favorite – and scares everybody else away,” said political analyst Jaime Regalado, the former director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A.
The head of the powerful L.A. County Federation of Labor heaped praise on Solis – an indication she’d likely win that key support.
"Labor Secretary Solis never lost touch with the fact that she was the daughter of immigrant factory workers, who like generations of immigrants before them, joined the union to help lift themselves from poverty,” Maria Elena Durazo said.
But why run for a county job after serving in the President’s cabinet? For starters, supervisors, once elected, rarely face challengers. They can serve three, four-year terms. The five-member Board of Supervisors also controls a massive $20 billion budget. And Solis could be more politically active here than in Washington D.C., according to Regalado.
“She was chaffing a bit,” he said. “She wanted to be around the country talking about labor rights, worker rights.”
Regalado said President Obama wasn’t interested in that.
Solis, for her part, praised the President’s “bold action” to put millions of Americans back to work. “Middle class Americans know the president is on their side.”
If Solis runs, she’d become – like Molina – a key player in local Latino politics again. But will she run?
“She hasn’t discussed it with me,” said Parke Skelton, her longtime political consultant. He also said it’s early. The primary election for the seat is in June of 2014.