WASHINGTON — U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis confirmed Friday that she is considering running for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, plans to “get my footing back in the community” and remain politically active in Los Angeles.
“I’m going to take a look at it,” she said of her potential run for the eastern Los Angeles County seat that will be vacated late next year by Supervisor Gloria Molina, who will be termed out of office.
Solis declined to offer a date when she will officially announce her decision, saying she wants to take time to “reflect, relax” and spend more time with her 87-year-old mother.
Solis, 55, has spent 12 years in Washington, first as a San Gabriel Valley congresswoman and, since 2009, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Solis described Molina as her mentor and noted that the district Molina has represented since 1991 encompasses a large chunk of territory she represented in Sacramento and Washington.
“But I’ve been away,” she said. “So I need to go back home and get out there.”
Solis’ resume would make her a strong favorite for the job: a daughter of immigrants, first in her family to attend college, first Latina Cabinet member, a former congresswoman, first Latina elected to the state Senate and a labor union ally who is likely in a campaign to tout her connections in Washington as a plus for the county.
As rare as it would be for a Cabinet member who has traveled in the rarefied atmosphere inside the Beltway to move into a position that includes fielding pothole complaints, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors presides over the nation’s most populous county, with a $25-billion budget and a 100,000 workforce that is larger than the Labor Department’s. The board’s members each preside over a district with more than 2 million residents, more than the population of 14 states.
The supervisor’s job pays $178,789 a year.
Solis noted the board could provide an opportunity for her to work on a broad range of issues of importance to her, including healthcare and transportation.
Filing for the office doesn’t open until Feb. 10, 2014.
Solis said she was proud of her record. “We have put back 5.8 million private sector jobs and growing,” she said of improvements in the labor market since it bottomed out in early 2010.
Asked about disappointments, she said, “I wish we had had more cooperation from the other side of the aisle.”
While Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also has announced plans to leave the Cabinet, Solis said, “I have no doubt in my mind that this president is going to fulfill his commitment to diversity on the Cabinet.”