Standing outside a center for foster kids awaiting placement Thursday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina endorsed former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to be her successor.
Offering one of the more prized endorsements in the race, Molina spoke of Solis' dedication to service and "grass roots history in our county as one of our champions."
The women met when Solis was a White House intern under President Carter and Molina was working for the administration. Solis said Molina was a mentor who supported each of her political campaigns, beginning with a run for a community college board seat in the San Gabriel Valley.
Molina, who is leaving the board due to term limits after 23 years, said she asked Solis to run for her 1st District office, which represents downtown and the eastern areas of the county.
Molina said she regretted not recruiting a successor when she left the Los Angeles City Council in 1991 because no other Latinas served on the council until the election of Councilwoman Nury Martinez last year.
The supervisor said she had held off on endorsing until now because she wanted to watch how Solis ran her campaign. "I have watched [Solis] closely," Molina said. "I know what she's about. I know how committed she is."
Two other candidates are running for the post: El Monte Councilman Juventino "J" Gomez, and school police officer April Saucedo Hood.
Solis returned Molina's praise, calling her an "iconic" figure and promising to carry on the county board's work in reforming the troubled child welfare system.