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Nation's school employees applaud selection of Solis

Congresswoman Solis has focused her career on improving lives of working families

WASHINGTON - December 17, 2008 -

The National Education Association today praised President-elect Barack Obama's selection of five-term Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) as the next secretary of labor. Rep. Solis has called for access to affordable health care, protecting the environment and improving the lives of working families-all priorities of the NEA.

"Rep. Solis understands that there is a direct connection between public education and economic success," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "From leading the battle to increase the minimum wage in California to sponsoring victorious legislation in Congress to provide training for green collar jobs, Rep. Solis has a solid record on labor and education issues in America. The announcement of Solis brings hope on issues facing working families that have been ignored for far too long."

As a California state senator, Solis won a substantial victory to increase California's minimum wage. In May of 2007, after Solis cosponsored the Fair Minimum Wage Act, the federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 per hour was signed into law (Public Law 110-28).  Her efforts are a positive force for labor and show a strong commitment to our working families, Van Roekel said.

As a former member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Solis showed her understanding of the issues important to educators, Van Roekel said. She consistently earned an "A" on NEA's annual congressional report card.

"This is a challenging time for our national leaders and working families all across America," Van Roekel said. "In addition to the challenges we face in education, the nearly 5 million working men and women in our public schools are impacted by the decisions of the Labor Department. We are encouraged by the selection of Rep. Solis and look forward to working together on all of our issues."

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman  (202) 822-7823